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Hospital CAHPS

Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems

What is HCAHPS?
Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is a standardized survey used to collect data and measure the patient experience in hospitals. HCAHPS scores were the first national standard for measuring patients’ perspective of care across all hospitals. HCAHPS was implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to introduce a system of measurement to help consumers make well-informed healthcare decisions.

CMS’ three goals of the HCAHPS survey are:

  • To produce comparable data on topics that are important to patients in order to allow objective and meaningful comparisons between hospitals.
  • To add new incentives for hospitals to improve quality of care.
  • To enhance accountability in healthcare by increasing transparency of the quality of care provided in return for the public investment.

What does the survey assess?
There are 29 HCAHPS survey questions that cover nine question areas.

  • Communication with doctors
  • Communication with nurses
  • Responsiveness of hospital staff
  • Communication about medicines
  • Discharge information
  • Cleanliness of the hospital environment
  • Quietness of the hospital environment
  • Transition of care

Patients are also asked to answer screening questions and questions about demographics.

Who participates?
Any hospital that falls under the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems (IPPS) payment system is required to complete HCAHPS in order to receive full reimbursement via the Annual Payment Update.

How is the HCAHPS survey administered?
The HCAHPS survey is administered to a random sample of adult inpatients between 48 hours and six weeks after discharge. Sampling may be conducted continuously or once a month, but must be randomly generated from the entire month’s worth of patients.

Hospitals must be approved by CMS to collect their own HCAHPS data, or they may use an approved survey vendor. SurveyVitals is approved by CMS to administer the HCAHPS survey.

What is an eligible patient for HCAHPS?
An eligible patient for the HCAHPS survey must meet the following requirements:

  • 18 years or older at the time of admission
  • At least one overnight stay in the hospital as an inpatient
  • Non-psychiatric MS-DRG/principal diagnosis at discharge
  • Alive at the time of discharge

How many patients are surveyed?
Hospitals must receive a minimum of 300 completed HCAHPS surveys during the annual reporting period.

What modes of administration are offered?
SurveyVitals offers mail-mode administration for the HCAHPS survey, as we have found it to be most cost-effective solution for clients.

What languages are available for HCAHPS administration?
The mail version of the HCAHPS survey is offered in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Portuguese, German, Tagalog, Arabic.

Will my organization’s HCAHPS data be publicly reported?
Yes, hospitals participating in HCAHPS are subject to public reporting. CMS releases HCAHPS results four times a year, using a rolling quarter system where the oldest quarter rolls off as the newest is added. HCAHPS results are viewable to the public on the Care Compare website at

What other CAHPS surveys do you provide?
In addition to HCAHPS, SurveyVitals is approved to administer CAHPS for MIPS, OAS CAHPS, Hospice CAHPS,  HHCAHPS, and ICH-CAHPS.

Does SurveyVitals have supplemental surveys?
Yes! Qualtrics Site of Care Solutions provides real-time insights into the patient experience across the continuum of care. Get started today to get patient feedback year-round with real-time analytics and trending to pinpoint areas needing improvement between CAHPS survey cycles.