Federal Register Proposal to Remove Pain Question from HH CAHPS Survey

Person filling out healthcare survey with a pin

In the Federal Register proposed rule published July 18, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services (CMS) proposed to remove the pain question, #10, from the Home Health (HH) CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) Survey beginning July 1, 2020. The question reads, In the last 2 months of care, did you and a home health provider from this agency talk about pain? The pain question is currently included in the “Special Care Issues” composite measure for the HH reported measures.

CMS is proposing to remove pain items from both the HH CAHPS survey and the Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) data sets, “…to avoid potential unintended consequences that may arise from their inclusion in CMS surveys and datasets.” Removing the pain component would also be consistent with the update in the Hospital CAHPS (HCAHPS) survey. Communication About Pain questions in the HCAHPS survey will be removed from surveys starting with October 1, 2019 discharges.

Update: On November 8, 2019, CMS released the HH CAHPS final rule where they state, “…we are not finalizing the removal of question 10 from all HH CAHPS Surveys.” Upon review of comments from the proposed rule, CMS found that many commenters expressed concern that this question was a critical part of the HH CAHPS survey and removing the question may compromise the validity of the survey. CMS agreed with commenter’s concerns and will keep the pain question on the HH CAHPS survey.