Outpatient Ambulatory Surgery Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (OAS CAHPS) Survey

The number of facilities performing outpatient surgery within hospital outpatient surgery departments (HOPDs) or free-standing ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) over the past several years has skyrocketed. According to CMS.gov’s OAS CAHPS website, there were approximately 5,357 Medicare-certified ASCs and 3,360 HOPDs in the U.S. at the end of 2012. Tens of millions of ambulatory surgeries have been performed in these environments, with Medicare payments to ASCs increasing by 24% from 2007 through 2012.

Steadily increasing demand has underscored a critical need to provide healthcare consumers with statistically valid data they can use to compare the performance of outpatient surgical facilities from the patient’s perspective. That is a primary reason the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have decided to introduce a voluntary OAS CAHPS survey in January 2016.

As CMS continues to explore ways to tie improvements in the quality of care to financial incentives, PRC recommends that hospital outpatient surgery departments and ambulatory surgical centers start looking into the details necessary for OAS CAHPS survey administration while the program is still completely voluntary.

Why choose PRC?

We’re on the leading edge. And we would love to have you join us by considering the benefits of conducting an OAS CAHPS survey now. Over the years, we’ve built a strong working relationship with the CAHPS Consortium, sharing input as core questions are developed and stepping up as a respected voice for other survey vendors. CMS has already hand-picked a number of our clients to participate in the OAS CAHPS Mode Experiment, which RTI International is conducting throughout the second half of 2015. RTI is testing three survey modes: mail, telephone, and a mixed methodology that blends mail with telephone.

We’ve been there, done that. With our strong history of evaluating outpatient surgery departments, we understand the unique nature of outpatient surgery and the critical role it plays in both the hospital environment and the lives of patients. We know the challenges outpatient surgery presents and the opportunities it creates to build long-term relationships with patients. You need an experienced research partner who can help you see the big picture, not just a survey vendor.

Our people are difference-makers. Any survey vendor can generate data. Our people can help you transform your research results into insights that reveal what your patients really think and feel about the care you deliver. With actionable data, you can make a difference in the lives of your patients — and polish your performance to prepare for the OAS CAHPS survey launch.

We’re reliable. We do things the right way and work effectively as a team to help your team reach its potential and achieve excellence. Plus, you can always 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.

We have the right tools for the job. 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 sets us apart, while offering the flexibility of mail-in surveys and a mode that blends mail and telephone.

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Oas Cahps Survey Vendor-brochure

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How is the government involved in this survey?

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has been working with the CAHPS Consortium since 2012 to develop a survey to evaluate patients’ perceptions of outpatient surgical care in both hospital and ambulatory surgery center settings. These organizations have fine-tuned the questionnaire based on feedback from public comments, focus groups, cognitive interviews, and multiple rounds of field testing. The ultimate goal of the survey is to identify the dimensions of care that healthcare consumers want to compare when selecting a provider for outpatient medical procedures.

Following the mode experiment, hospitals and surgery centers gained the opportunity to voluntarily submit their OAS CAHPS survey results, according to CMS guidelines, in January 2016. PRC is approved by CMS to administer the OAS CAHPS survey and submit the results for future public reporting.

On July 6, 2016, CMS announced its intention to require qualifying hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers paid by CMS under the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) to administer the OAS CAHPS survey to patients treated on and after January 1, 2018. Calendar year 2018 will be the first data collection period to impact reimbursements paid in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020. OAS CAHPS will begin as a "pay for reporting" program, which means that CMS will reduce reimbursements by 2% for participating hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers that don't comply with the new quality reporting measure. Hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers managing 50 or fewer cases a year will be able to apply for an exemption to this requirement due to their small patient load. 

How does this survey work?

Each sample month, HOPDs and ASCs send PRC patient records. From those files, 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 18 years of age or older
  • Have at least one outpatient surgery or procedure during the sample month
  • Be assigned a surgery or procedure code that is considered eligible for this program
  • Be alive at the time of survey administration
  • Have a U.S. mailing address
  • Not be discharged to hospice care
  • Not reside in an institution, like a nursing home or jail

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 an OAS CAHPS study. The holding period prevents survey fatigue by making survey vendors wait at least five months before they select a particular patient, again.

PRC also offers mail and mixed (mail and telephone) methodologies for organizations that request them.

PRC is responsible for submitting each facility's survey results to CMS via RTI International on a quarterly basis. Submissions need to be completed and verified by the second Wednesday of each quarter.

What does OAS CAHPS measure?

This survey will contain 37 questions designed to measure patients’ perceptions of:

About Facilities and Staff 6 questions
Communications About Your Procedure 5 questions
Preparations for Discharge and Recovery 6 questions
Overall Rating of Facility 1 question
Likelihood to Recommend 1 question

PRC can help hospitals and surgery centers add their own custom questions, if they choose. Base surveys must use core questions developed by CMS, which are constructed to capture perceptions of the aspects of care that it believes are most important to patients throughout their experience. When clients need to assess a specific subset of patients through a series of targeted questions, or when leaders want to assess a new aspect of care, PRC’s expert Survey Design team will partner with client teams to custom-design questions.

This focus on customization enables clients, the industry, and PRC to evolve by continually testing new questions for relevance. Customized, evolving survey instruments generate insights into the ever-changing factors that drive patient experience. PRC was first to market with questions tracking teamwork and patient safety, as well as those measuring the efficacy of best practices, such as post-discharge phone calls. PRC partners with clients to stay on the leading edge of patient perception measurement and analysis so that healthcare organizations can pioneer new ways to deliver excellent patient experiences.

What’s next?

Contact us if you are interested in implementing the OAS CAHPS survey for 2016 patients. PRC is eager to help HOPDs and ASCs collect and submit data for the newest member of the CAHPS family of surveys. See the OAS CAHPS website for official announcements and materials.

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