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

ASCs pride themselves on the high-quality care they provide and the high level of satisfaction that their patients report. Patients

appreciate the convenience of ASCs and the fact that performing only outpatient

elective procedures bet-

ter controls the environment and lim- its patient exposure to potential health care acquired infections. While many ASCs conduct their

own patient satisfaction surveys, cur- rently no single instrument assesses patient experiences in outpatient sur- gical settings. The Centers for Medi- care & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed to mandate use of the Con- sumer Assessment of Healthcare Pro- viders and Systems Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Survey (OAS CAHPS) that would measure patients’ experience of care within both hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and ASCs. If finalized as proposed, facili- ties would be required to begin using the survey in 2018.

Background In 2006, CMS began implementing the Hospital CAHPS (HCAHPS) Survey, an inpatient care evaluation tool. Pub- lic reporting of the survey results on the Hospital Compare web site began in 2008. OAS CAHPS, the instru- ment measuring patient experience at the outpatient facility level, focuses on interactions with all facility staff and clinicians, including communication with the patient both pre- and post- operatively, as well as physical plant information such as cleanliness. The survey development process, which included input from industry stake- holders, began in 2012. Use of the sur- vey instrument is voluntary.

Survey Contents The OAS CAHPS survey contains 37 items, 13 of which are demographic in


nature. The patient demographic ques- tions (within the “About You” section) were designed to comply with the US Office of Minority Health’s require- ments on data collection standards for race, sex, ethnicity, primary language and disability status. The OAS CAHPS instrument con- questions about the patient’s


overall rating of the outpatient surgery facility, experience with the check-in process, facility environment, com- munication with administrative staff (receptionists) and clinical providers (doctors and nurses), attention to com- fort, pain control, provision of pre-and post-surgery care information, over- all experience and patient characteris- tics. HOPDs and ASCs may add their own facility-specific questions to the existing OAS CAHPS as long as these appear after the core survey questions.

Current OAS CAHPS Program In January 2016, CMS rolled out a voluntary program that allowed ASCs

and HOPDs to report patient satisfac- tion survey data to CMS and choose whether to publicly report data. ASCs can participate by contracting with a CMS-approved, third-party vendor of their choice to implement the survey on their behalf and submit the OAS CAHPS data to CMS. Third-party vendors collect the data

to avoid any apparent bias of facility- facilitated surveys. They use one of three ways for data collection: ■

Mail-only: Participants in this group will be sent one mailing, and then one follow-up mailing if they fail to respond within three weeks.

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

Mixed mode (mail survey with tele- phone follow-up of non-respon- dents)—Participants in this group will be sent one letter, and then if they fail to respond will be called a maximum of five times.

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