CAHPS® for Physician Quality Reporting System

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The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Survey for group practices participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) was developed to collect information about patient experience and care within that group practice. The yearly CAHPS for PQRS Survey collects data through two survey mailings and follow-up phone calls to non-respondents to measure the twelve key domains of beneficiaries’ experiences of care. CAHPS asks patients about the interpersonal aspects of health care—aspects for which patients may be the best, if not the only source of information—and areas that patients have identified as being important to them.

For vendors

  • Vendor Registration for the 2016 CAHPS for PQRS Survey has closed. The next application period to become a CAHPS for PQRS Survey vendor will be in Spring 2017. For more information, please contact the CAHPS for PQRS Technical Assistance Email at pqrscahps@hcqis.org.
  • The final list of approved vendors has been posted. 

For Group Practices

  • Have questions about your practice’s responsibility for survey administration? Visit our Information for Group Practices page.
  • All Group Practices must select a CMS approved CAHPS for PQRS Survey vendor. Group Practices must complete the 2016 CAHPS for PQRS Survey vendor authorization process, which is currently scheduled to begin in early August 2016. The survey vendor authorization process must be completed no later than September 20, 2016. Group Practices participating in the CAHPS for PQRS Survey will receive information about how to access the electronic vendor registration in early August 2016. Group Practices must select a vendor from the final list of 2016 CMS approved CAHPS for PQRS Survey vendors

More information

  • Visit our Physician Quality Reporting System page to learn more about the PQRS program, its requirements and quality measures.
  • Learn more about the set of CAHPS surveys and find a link to reports by visiting our CAHPS  page.

About the Survey

The CAHPS Survey for group practices participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) will be carried out yearly. The first surveys were collected in 2014 for the 2013 reporting period. For reporting period 2014, 292 group practices participated in the CAHPS for PQRS Survey. For reporting period 2015, 461 group practices participated in the CAHPS for PQRS Survey.

In 2016, survey administration is:

  • Required for all group practices of 100 or more eligible providers (EPs) that register for PQRS by June 30, 2016.
  • Optional for group practices of 2-99 EPs, regardless of the reporting option, that register for PQRS by June 30, 2016. During registration, such groups must indicate whether they are participating in CAHPS for PQRS.

You can find complete information on our Physician Quality Reporting System page.

The CAHPS for PQRS Survey measures twelve key domains of beneficiaries’ experiences of care that we refer to as summary survey measures (SSMs). An SSM is a collection of survey items that assess the same patient experience domain of care.

  1. Getting Timely Care, Appointments and Information
  2. How Well Providers Communicate
  3. Patient’s Rating of Provider
  4. Access to Specialists
  5. Health Promotion and Education
  6. Shared Decision Making
  7. Health Status/Functional Status
  8. Courteous and Helpful Office Staff
  9. Care Coordination
  10. Between Visit Communication
  11. Helping You to Take Medication as Directed
  12. Stewardship of Patient Resources

The survey contains the core CG-CAHPS Survey plus additional items to meet the needs of PQRS. The 2016 survey can be found on the Survey Instruments page.

The survey is administered through a Mixed-Mode data collection protocol:

  • CMS pre-notification letter
  • Two survey mailings
  • Up to six follow-up phone calls to beneficiaries who do not return a survey by mail

 The CAHPS for PQRS Survey can only be administered by a CMS-approved survey vendor.


Survey Vendor Application Process

Step 1 – Vendor submits Participation form. 

  • Review the minimum business requirements for survey vendors and confirm your organization meets these requirements.
  • When the vendor application period is open, complete the participation application.  Include, in detail, all subcontractor relationships. Fully document how you’ll fulfill the minimum survey vendor business requirements. Submit your application to the CAHPS for PQRS Survey Project Team during the registration period. Survey vendor participation for the 2016 survey administration period was open from April 4, 2016 to April 21, 2016.

 Step 2 – Vendor successfully completes training

  • Approved applicants (vendors’ and subcontractors’ key staff) must participate in a webinar-based training and pass a quiz at the end of the training session. This training covers the procedures, requirements and timeline that vendors need to follow for survey administration and data reporting. 

Vendors whose applications are approved, successfully participate in training and pass a quiz at the end of the training session can become approved vendors. The final list of approved CAHPS for PQRS Survey vendors is now available on the Approved Vendor List page. 

Approved vendors must follow the procedures in the CAHPS for PQRS Survey Quality Assurance Guidelines to maintain their status as a CMS-approved vendor. 


Citing Material You Find on This Website

Please use the following citation when referencing material on this website:

[pqrscahps.org] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Baltimore, MD. Month, Date, Year the page was accessed. PQRSCAHPS.org


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