Input Sought from Hospice Agencies for Satisfaction Survey

A notice Thursday in the advance Federal Register soliciting input from hospices on the development of a hospice satisfaction survey.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicated that a rigorous, well-designed Hospice Survey will allow them to understand: (1) patient experiences throughout their hospice care, as reported by their family members/friends; and (2) the perspectives of family members/friends with regard to their own experiences with hospice. This information will ultimately be used to help improve the quality of care patients and their families and friends receive in hospice.

As part of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Home Health published in the Federal Register in July 2012 there was a section on the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP) which indicated that CMS is considering an experience of care survey for hospice but that it did not envision implementation of both a data set for the HQRP and an experience of care survey in the same year and would project implementation in succession in order to avoid excessive burden to hospices.

The advance notice stated that a hospice survey would be a Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS ) survey, similar to the ones implemented for home health agencies, hospitals, and other providers. The difference between the CMS Hospice Survey and other CAHPS surveys is that the target population for the Hospice Survey is bereaved family members or close friends of patients who died in hospice care and not the patient. The reasons for focusing on family members/friends are that the patient is not the best source of information for the entire trajectory of hospice care, and that many hospice patients are very ill and unable to answer survey questions.

The notice indicates that CMS is in the process of reviewing potential topic areas for the Hospice Survey, as well as publicly available instruments and measures, for the purpose of developing a Hospice Survey that will enable objective comparisons of hospice experiences across the country. This survey will be used to help consumers make more informed decisions about providers, as well as provide information to drive improvements in the quality of hospice care.

CMS is soliciting the submission of suggested topic areas (such as “communication with providers,” “pain control” or “non-pain symptom management”) as well as publicly available instruments for capturing family members’ or friends’ experiences with hospice care. We are interested in instruments and items that can measure quality of care from the family member/friend’s perspective, including all potential hospice settings (for example, home, nursing home, hospital, and free-standing hospice) and instruments that track changes over time.

The formal notice about the CMS Hospice Survey is expected to be published in the Federal Register soon and there will be a 60-day comment period from the date of publication. The Hospice Association of America (HAA), a NAHC affiliate, and NAHC will be compiling and submitting comments. Please forward your input to Katie Wehri, Hospice Operations, or Theresa Forster, Vice President for Hospice Policy & Programs,


From the NAHC Report article