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Primary Care First (PCF)
Patient Experience of Care Survey (PEC Survey)

What is Primary Care First (PCF) Patient Experience of Care Survey (PEC Survey)?
Primary Care First (PCF) is a 5-year model aiming to improve quality, improve patient experience of care, and reduce expenditures. Clinical quality, utilization, and patient experience measures are used to assess quality of care delivered at the practice and PCF practice sites must meet standards that reflect quality care and model requirements in order to be eligible for a positive performance-based adjustment (PBA). The measures were selected to be actionable, clinically meaningful, and aligned with CMS’s broader quality measurement strategy.

The Patient Experience of Care Survey (PEC Survey), which is based on the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Clinician and Groups Survey (CG), is also required for all practice sites. Positive patient experience reflects high-quality care.  Positive patient experience is also associated with higher levels of patient adherence, improved clinical outcomes, and lower utilization of inpatient and emergency department services. The designers of the PCF questionnaire specifically included CAHPS questions that measure whether patients observe providers and practice sites engaging in behaviors connected to PCF objectives, such as use of a care team with 24/7 access to the patient’s EHR and educating patients about how to get emergency care outside of practice hours.

How are patients chosen to receive a PCF PECS? Will all patients receive a survey?
CMS will select a random sample of patients from the rosters submitted by practices. Not all patients will receive a survey. The sample will consist of the following patient specifications:

  • All payers, self-pay, or no insurance
  • Ages 18 and above
  • All patients who had at least one visit. The visit window begins on January 1 of the Performance Year and ends whenever the practice site submits their roster.
    • If the patient had any visit in the window, in-person or telehealth, they are eligible.

Exclude as ineligible:

  • patients who are deceased, who reside in nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities, who only visited your practice site for a COVID test or vaccine , and patients whose addresses are outside the US.

People who live in residential care/assisted living facilities are eligible.

What if my practice’s survey has a low response rate?
PCF PECS protocols are specifically designed to meet target response rates and yield the required number of completed surveys. If a practice does not meet the reliability threshold, CMS will use the responses that were received, and the scores will be calculated based on those responses.

Does CMS publicly report the results of PCF PECS anywhere?
The results of the PCF PECS are not publicly reported. Practice sites receive individual reports with summary data in the late summer.

How will practices receive the results of the PCF PECS?
CMS prepares personalized, easy to understand score reports for each practice site​. The report reflects all Complete and Partially Complete surveys for that practice site.