Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions ASCA has been receiving regarding the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Survey, or “OAS CAHPS” survey. This survey is currently voluntary, but will be mandatory for CMS-certified ASCs beginning in 2018 so start planning now!
What is the survey?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) contracted with RTI International to develop the OAS CAHPS survey to measure experience of care in patients who have a surgery or procedure performed in a hospital outpatient department (HOPD) or ambulatory surgery center (ASC). Prior to OAS CAHPS, which has been in development since 2012, there was no standardized survey instrument to assess patient experience with outpatient surgical care received at HOPDs and ASCs.
Are we required to use the OAS CAHPS Survey?
In 2017, ASCs are not obligated to participate in the program – it is voluntary.
However, beginning in 2018, CMS-certified ASCs who are required to submit quality data will need to contract with a CMS approved survey vendor to comply with the ASC Quality Reporting Program.
What data will be available to our facility?
Participating HOPDs and ASCs can compare their patient responses against their state and the national average. Results and links to these datasets will be available for download on a CMS website such as Medicare.gov.
What types of questions are asked in the survey?
The survey measures patients’ experiences on topics such as:
- communication and care provided by health care providers and office staff;
- preparation for the surgery or procedure;
- post-surgical care coordination; and
- patient-reported outcomes.
How long is the survey?
The survey is 37 questions long. It is divided into the following subsections:
- Before your procedure: (2 questions)
- About the facility and staff: (6 questions)
- Communication about your procedure: (5 questions)
- Your recovery: (9 questions)
- Your overall experience: (2 questions)
- About you: (13 questions)
Where can I find a copy of the survey?
The survey can be accessed here.
Are we allowed to add other questions to the survey?
Facilities may add up to fifteen (15) supplementary questions at the end of the survey and can choose to replace their internal patient experience of care surveys with the OAS CAHPS survey. Please note that vendors may charge additional money for adding questions to the survey.
How is the survey administered?
CMS-approved survey vendors will administer the survey on behalf of HOPDs and ASCs by telephone interview, mailed surveys or mail with telephone follow up (mixed mode) and submit the data to RTI International. There is no web-based version of the survey. RTI International will analyze the data, and during this voluntary stage, if the facility authorizes it, eventually the results will be publicly reported on a CMS website.
How much does it cost to administer?
That will vary by vendor. As of February 5, 2016, there were 21 vendors that have received interim approval as OAS CAHPS Survey vendors. All survey vendors listed on the OAS CAHPS website are qualified to administer the OAS CAHPS Survey and have met the requirements for conducting the survey on behalf of Medicare-certified HOPDs and ASCs. Please contact vendors for pricing; the current list of approved vendors is available here.
What should I ask vendors before selecting one?
- You will want to ask about the vendor’s pricing model. It is our understanding that most vendors charge facilities per completed survey, but some could potentially charge per survey sent out or telephone call made. Make sure to confirm. You should also ask if there is a set-up cost.
- You may want to ask about the terms of the contract, and whether or not there is a benefit to agreeing to a longer term (multiple years) or an early termination fee if you cancel your service with that vendor. See if there can or will be an 'out clause' for both parties w/a 30, 60 or 90 day time frame depending on the contract.
- In addition, if you would like to add your own questions to the end of the OAS CAHPS survey, you should ask the vendors how much, if anything, this customization of the survey would cost.
In addition, if you use a billing company, that billing company will need to be able to produce the report that goes to the survey vendor each month, outlining patients to survey. Check with your billing company in advance to determine what type of cost they will impose on your facility (a one-time implementation cost or a monthly fee).
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-590-7468.