CMS updates HCAHPS survey amid declining scores

August 09, 2023


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is revising its patient experience survey to address low response rates and expand data on care quality.

Announced Aug.1 as part of the agency’s inpatient prospective payment system final rule, the modifications to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey have been years in the making.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, stakeholders advocated for CMS to improve the HCAHPS survey by changing its response format and fine-tuning the measures included. Now, with more patients reporting declines in their hospital experiences, CMS is sharpening its focus on improving the survey process.

Here’s what you need to know about the HCAHPS survey and patient perception of hospital care.

What does the survey focus on?

The HCAHPS survey, given to a random sample of adult hospital patients after their discharge, asks 29 questions about the quality of the care they received.

Core areas of the survey ask patients to rate their communication with clinicians; the hospital’s environment and cleanliness; and information they were given about medications and discharge planning. Patients also report how likely they would be to recommend the hospital to others.

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