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Participate in the CAHPS survey and help improve health care

Posted March 18, 2022 by Charles A. Zonfa, MD, FACOG | Chief Medical Office

As the snow begins to melt and buds appear, it’s that time of year for the annual Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (CAHPS) survey. Set to distribute in late March, the survey plays an integral role in how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) measures the quality of health care services and determines how to improve health care across the country.

The CAHPS survey assesses the experience of Medicare members with their health plan, providers and services. The survey uses standardized questions and data collection protocols and is designed to reliably assess experiences of a large sample of patients in order to compare information across healthcare settings.

CMS will distribute the survey to participants chosen at random in two separate mailings and will follow up by telephone to those who don’t respond. Be on the lookout for the mailed questionnaire this spring. Remember, your input is critical in improving health care and Medicare plan services. 

What to expect in the CAHPS survey

The CAHPS patient experience survey focuses on how patients experienced or perceived key aspects of their care. This survey does not measure how satisfied patients were with their care. The survey focuses on asking members how they experienced critical aspects of health care, including communication with doctors, understanding medication instructions and the coordination of their health care needs. 

Survey questions will address the following areas:

  • Whether patients received the annual flu and pneumonia vaccines
  • Overall rating of healthcare quality
  • Getting the care needed
  • Easy to get needed care, tests or treatment
  • Secure a specialist appointment as soon as needed
  • Securing appointments and care quickly
  • Received as soon as needed
  • Received routine care timely
  • Seen within 15 minutes of the scheduled appointment time
  • Care coordination
  • Personal doctor had medical records or other information about previous care
  • Doctor's office followed up to give test results
  • Received test results when needed
  • Personal doctor talked about all the prescription medications
  • Personal doctor's office helped to manage care among different providers and services
  • Personal doctor seemed informed and up to date about the care from specialists
  • Getting needed prescription medications
  • Easy to use prescription drug plan to get the medications prescribed
  • Easy to use prescription drug plan to fill a prescription at a pharmacy or by mail

How are CAHPS survey results used?

The CAHPS survey demonstrates what matters most to patients and includes actionable items for providers.

Survey results are publicly reported on and can be used to assist in:

  • The selection of Medicare plans
  • Assessing Medicare program performance
  • Evaluating and comparing healthcare providers
  • Enabling providers to identify areas for improvement to improve patient experiences

In addition, member experience will account for 60 percent of the 2023 Star Rating, which rates plans on a one to five scale, with five stars representing the best performance. CMS releases these star ratings each year to deliver important information about the quality of specific health plans to help people in comparing and selecting Medicare plans.

At SummaCare, we encourage you to participate in the survey and help us improve the quality of care for our members.

If you have any questions about the CAHPS survey, please contact SummaCare Customer Service at 330-996-8885 or (toll-free) 800-996-6250 (TTY 800-750-0750) or email at  From April 1 through September 30, a representative will be available to take your call from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. From October 1 through March 31, a representative will be available to take your call from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week.

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