Home Health Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS)

America’s need for home health care is booming, and the reasons are clear:

A significant demographic shift has occurred. People are living longer, and, as the Baby Boomer cohort ages, the number of elderly patients requiring healthcare is exploding.

Cost is an issue. Caring for people at home is a far more efficient — and affordable — way to provide the assistance they need than assisted living or extended care facilities.

People crave comfort and security. More and more seniors are choosing to age in place to retain their independence where they feel most at home.

Convenience rules. Why leave the comfort of home for appointments when health care professionals can provide personal attention?*

As the home health care industry grows, Professional Research Consultants, Inc., (PRC) is helping home health agencies design custom research to collect and understand patients’ perceptions of the skilled home care they deliver. In addition to satisfying federal reporting requirements, insights gained from the research can be applied to treatment protocols to increase quality and drive loyalty. PRC was among the first group of survey vendors approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct HHCAHPS surveys, back in 2010.  Download PRC's HHCAHPS Brochure.

Why choose PRC?

We go beyond data collection. Since 2010, our HHCAHPS experts have helped agencies understand and accommodate changing government requirements and timelines. Home health is an evolving industry, continuously adapting to new technologies, employment practices and marketplace demands. You need a research partner who can help you see the big picture, not a vendor.

Our people are difference-makers. Any survey vendor can generate data. Our people can help you connect your research data to the care you provide and offer insights into what your patients really think. Armed with actionable data like that, you can make a difference in the lives of your patients—and your HHCAHPS scores. In fact, PRC clients tend to score higher than national averages.

We are reliable. We will deliver what you need, when you need it, however you want it. And, you can count on your client relationship manager to put you in touch with all of the resources you’ll need to make the most of your research results.

You’ll appreciate our power tools. PRCEasyView.com® applications will empower you to create custom reports to shape the story you want to tell. Plus, we pioneered — and continue to upgrade — the telephone research methodology that supports HHCAHPS data collection.

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How is the government involved in this survey?

The Home Health CAHPS survey went through waves of development and testing from 2006 to 2009 when the survey instrument was endorsed by the National Quality Forum and the United States Office of Management and Budget. National implementation of the survey began shortly after on a voluntary basis. The results of the HHCAHPS survey were folded into the quality reporting requirements for the home health annual payment update (APU) in July 2010. This reporting evolved into a pay-for-participation model that was required of Medicare-certified agencies that served at least 60 patients in a designated 12-month period. (HomeHealthCAHPS.org)

HHCAHPS survey results have been publicly reported on Home Health Compare since April 2012. The survey enables home health care consumers to make objective, meaningful comparisons among local home health agencies based on the services, clinical care statistics, and patient opinions they value most.

How does this work?

Each sample month, home health agencies send PRC patient records. From those records, PRC identifies a representative sample of patients to receive the survey based on a targeted number of completions and the following eligibility criteria.

Patients must:

  • Be insured by Medicare or Medicaid
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have received at least one visit for skilled care in the sample month
  • Have received at least two visits in the previous two calendar months
  • Be alive at time of the interview
  • Not be receiving hospice or maternity care
  • Not request "No Publicity"
  • Not be excluded for state regulations

PRC’s expert interviewers will make up to five attempts to contact the patient by phone within 21 days of the end of the sample month. Patients enter a five-month holding period after being selected for a Home Health CAHPS study. The holding period prevents survey fatigue by making survey vendors wait at least five months before they make an additional contact with any given patient.

Because some patients selected to take the Home Health CAHPS survey may be too ill to complete a survey, CMS allows proxy respondents to answer the questions on a patient’s behalf. This gives a voice to people who otherwise might not be heard.

PRC is responsible for submitting each home health agency’s survey results to CMS via RTI International on a quarterly basis. Submissions need to be completed and verified by the third Thursday of each quarter.

What does Home Health CAHPS measure?

Reported Measures
Care of Patients 4 questions
Communications Between Providers and Patients 6 questions
Specific Care Issues 7 questions
Overall Rating 1 question
Likelihood to Recommend 1 question

To learn about specific deadlines, changes to the annual payment update process, and copies of the survey materials, please visit the Home Health Care CAHPS Survey website. If you are interested in authorizing PRC to be your designated survey vendor for HHCAHPS, please log in to the secure Home Health CAHPS webpage and navigate to the authorization form. If your agency is too small to participate, you may complete the Participation Exemption Request Form each year.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about the program. Our teams of CAHPS experts, client relationship managers, and sales representatives are happy to help you understand and meet CMS requirements and develop process improvement strategies.

*Stratis Business Systems, Growth in the Home Care Industry, 2015

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