During a recent HCAHPS update vendor training, CMS also validated what many of PRC’s clients are seeing – since Q1 2020, publicly reported HCAHPS scores have fallen and remain lower than pre-pandemic levels across all HCAHPS measures.
While we expected we would see our first 12 months of public reporting after the data freeze during the pandemic ended in April 2022; however, CMS has decided to skip the April 2022 refresh. We anticipate the next reporting will be in July 2022, with data from Oct 20–Sep 21.
CMS also requests that hospitals participating in a “Hospital at Home” program have their survey vendor submit an Exception Request Form to document their participation in this program. Typically, patients participating in that program are still eligible for HCAHPS, assuming they had an overnight stay within the physical hospital and meet other eligibility requirements. If you serve patients in this way, please let PRC know so we may complete this documentation for you.
Using HCAHPS data from 2019 discharges, CMS observed that certain patient populations are more likely to complete the survey using particular survey modes. This is important because CMS wants to learn about experiences of all inpatients, across demographics like race, ethnicity, langue, age, sex, and service line. If certain groups of patients are less likely to complete the survey, they will be underrepresented in the data. CMS identified that phone-only yields higher response rates than mail-only for hospitals who serve more maternity patients and younger patients. Additionally, they have seen that when hospitals switch methodology from phone-only to mail-only, patients who are Black, Hispanic, or Spanish-preferring are less likely to respond by mail, making the data less representative, although their mode experiments indicate that mixed mode (mail with phone follow-up) is the best for all patient groups.
CMS also discussed preliminary findings from their 2021 HCAHPS mode experiment. Read more about that here to learn about what is being called “HCAHPS 2.0.” Please make sure you are collecting patient email address and the patient’s preferred language, as Spanish language surveys may be required for patients who prefer Spanish.