Understanding ICH CAHPS

The In-Center Hemodialysis Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (ICH CAHPS) is a national, standardized, and publicly-reported survey of patients’ perspectives of dialysis care. ICH CAHPS measures the perceptions of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who are receiving in-center hemodialysis care.

Questions in the ICH CAHPS survey components capture patients’ perceptions of nephrologists’ communication and caring, staff communication and caring, operations of the dialysis facility, and the facility’s handling of patients’ problems. The survey also includes questions to determine, patients’ knowledge of treatment options, and satisfaction with grievance management.

The survey can be administered in one of three ways: mail only, telephone only, and mixed (mail followed by telephone). Even though ESRD patients spend a number of hours each week at their dialysis facilities, to avoid any bias in responses the survey may not be administered by any facility staff person and may not be administered in the dialysis facility. Surveys are conducted two times per year: in the spring and the fall. All dialysis facilities that treat more than 30 adult patients in a year are required by Medicare to have their patients surveyed.

As part of your patients’ ESRD healthcare team CMS encourages you and other members of the dialysis facility team to focus on the patient experience of care and on ways that they can improve overall quality of life for patients. The ICH CAHPS assessment provides an opportunity for patients’ to express their perspective about the care they receive. ICH CAHPS results are used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) to determine reimbursements to facilities under the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP). Results are also used to score facilities, using a five star rating system in Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC), to help patients select a facility that is right for them.

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