CMS Relaxes Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements During Outbreak

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is forestalling quality reporting requirements for providers participating in Medicare, including the Hospice Item Data Set (HIS) and the Consumer Assessment and Perception of Health Care Provider and Services (CAPHS) surveys.

Hospices are not required to submit CAHPS survey data from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, according to CMS. In addition, reporting HIS data will be optional for hospices that have submission deadlines in April and May.  

“In granting these exceptions and extensions, CMS is supporting clinicians fighting coronavirus on the front lines,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. 

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Hospices are required to submit data to two CMS systems, including HIS, which contains nine publicly reported quality measures. In the second measurement system, CAHPS, surveys are sent to the family after the patient has passed away to gauge their satisfaction with the care their family member received. The survey vendor contacts the family by phone or mail approximately 42 days after the end of the month in which the patient died. 

The survey’s 47 questions indicate the family’s perception of hospice performance on 11 metrics such as hospice team communication, symptom management, emotional and spiritual support, patient and caregiver training, and whether the family would recommend the hospice, among other data points.

CMS uses the Hospice Compare website to publicly report hospice provider performance on quality measures. Referring organizations such as hospitals and nursing homes, as well as patients and families, are paying increasing attention to these scores when choosing a hospice.

“CMS recognizes that quality measure data collection and reporting for services furnished during this time period may not be reflective of their true level of performance on measures such as cost, readmissions and patient experience during this time of emergency and seeks to hold organizations harmless for not submitting data during this period,” the agency indicated in a statement.

CMS took this action to relieve some administrative burden for health care providers as they strive to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.