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REGULATORY REVIEW


Patient Experience Survey Coming to ASCs What you need to know BY KARA NEWBURY


While many ASCs con- duct their own patient sat- isfaction surveys, there is currently no single instru- ment that assesses patient


experiences in outpatient surgical set- tings. This will change beginning next year when facilities will need to start using the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Survey (OAS CAHPS) survey to meet ASC Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program requirements. To successfully comply with the ASCQR Program and receive their full annual Medicare pay- ment update in 2020, ASCs must start using the survey beginning in 2018.


Survey Contents The OAS CAHPS survey is an instru- ment measuring


patient


If you plan to add your own questions to the end of the OAS CAHPS survey, you should ask the vendors how much, if anything, this customization of the survey would cost. You may want to ask about the


choosing to implement the survey on their behalf and submit the OAS CAHPS data to CMS. Third-party ven- dors collect the data to avoid any appar- ent bias of facility-facilitated surveys. The cost to facilities will vary by


experience


at hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and ASCs. It focuses on interactions with all facility staff and clinicians, including communication with the patient both pre- and postop- eratively, as well as physical facility information such as cleanliness. The survey contains 37 items, 13 of


which are demographic in nature, and can be accessed at https://oascahps. org/Survey-Materials. The patient demographic questions were designed to comply with the US Office of Minor- ity Health’s requirements on data col- lection standards for race, sex, ethnic- ity, primary language and disability status. HOPDs and ASCs may add up to 15 of their own facility-specific questions to the existing OAS CAHPS survey as long as these appear after the core survey questions.


Selecting a Vendor


ASCs must contract with a CMS- approved, third-party vendor of their


20 ASC FOCUS APRIL 2017


vendor. There are currently 21 CMS- approved vendors, and the list is avail- able at https://oascahps.org/General- Information/Approved-Survey-Vendors. Before selecting a vendor, ask about the vendor’s pricing model. While many vendors charge facilities per completed survey, some could charge per survey sent out or telephone call made. You should also ask if there is a set-up cost.


Track the Latest Regulatory and Legislative News for ASCs


Visit ASCA’s web site every week to stay up to date on the latest government affairs news affecting the ASC industry. Every week, ASCA’s Government Affairs Update newsletter is posted online for ASCA members to read. The weekly newsletter tracks and analyzes the latest legislative and regulatory developments concerning ASCs.


www.ascassociation.org/ GovtAffairsUpdate


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terms of the contract, and whether there is a benefit to agreeing to a lon- ger term—multiple years—or an early termination fee if you cancel your ser- vice with that vendor. See if there can be an “out clause” for both parties with a 30-, 60- or 90-day time frame depending on the contract. Just as with any other contract, you should have an attorney review. In addition, if you use a billing


company, that billing company will need to be able to produce the report identifying patients to survey and send that report to the survey vendor each month. Check with your billing com- pany in advance to determine what type of cost it will impose on your facility (e.g., a one-time implementa- tion cost or a monthly fee).


Data Collection For this survey, the data is collected one of three ways: ■


Mail-only: Participants will be sent one mailing and, if they fail to respond within three weeks, one fol- low-up mailing.


Telephone-only: Participants will be called a maximum of five times.


Mixed mode (mail survey with tele- phone follow-up of non-respon- dents): Participants will be sent one letter, and if they fail to respond, will be called a maximum of five times. Although it seems counterintuitive in this digital era, to date, CMS has not seriously considered adding an elec- tronic data collection option.


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