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The Catalyst

MUSC Medical Center Communications Corner

What’s all the CAHPS about?




—CAHPS is a patient self-reported survey that measures perceptions of the consistency of the quality of care they received. CAHPS is not intended to be a patient satisfaction survey.
—Most question responses relate to frequency: always, usually, sometimes, never.
—Some item responses relate to agreement: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree.
—Results are reported as “Top Box,” which means the percentage of responses that were the top choice (always or strongly agree).
—There are different versions of CAHPS for different providers: H = Hospital, CG = Clinicians and Groups, HH = Home Health, ED = Emergency Department, ASC = Ambulatory Surgery Center, PED = Pediatrics.

HCAHPS (Hospital)

MUSC began using the HCAHPS survey in adult outpatient areas in October 2007. The survey includes:

Two overall questions
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your care?
2. Would you recommend this hospital to friends and family?

Eight composites with two or more questions
1. Communication with nurses
2. Communication with physicians
3. Communication about medications
4. Responsiveness of hospital staff
5. Pain management
6. Discharge information
7. Environment of care (cleanliness and quietness)
8. Care transitions

Almost every hospital that receives Medicare payments participates in the survey. Results for all participating hospitals are reported publicly online.


—CAHPS was created by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
—CAHPS is one of the performance criteria that CMS uses to evaluate the quality and value of the services it pays for with Medicare and Medicaid dollars (value-based purchasing).
—Based on performance, CMS will pay providers less than, equal to or more than they have been paid in the past.
—The goal is for MUSC to be one of the providers that gets paid more than in the past.

CGCAHPS (Clinician and Groups)

—We will begin to use this survey in July 2013 for the adult clinics.
—Assesses the quality of ambulatory primary and specialty
—Some refer to it as the “sister survey” to the inpatient HCAHPS survey.
—Results and data will be publicly reported at

The survey includes six composites:
1. Access to care
2. Provider communication
3. Office staff
4. Follow up on test results
5. Overall provider rating
6. Willingness to recommend

The CGCAHPS survey will eventually become a required measurement for full reimbursement initially for Medicare, but also for private insurers who are interested in the tool.

More information on CGCAHPS survey can be found on the Ambulatory Care Service Excellence website, located on the medical center intranet.

To view MUSC’s performance, visit the MUSC Excellence website on the intranet:

June 12, 2013

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