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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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AGENCY:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS.

In compliance with the requirement of section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is publishing the following summary of proposed collections for public comment. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

1. Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: National Implementation of Hospital Consumer Start Printed Page 59134Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS); Use: The HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients' perspectives of hospital care. HCAHPS (pronounced “H-caps”), also known as the CAHPS® Hospital Survey, is a survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients' perceptions of their hospital experience. While many hospitals have collected information on patient satisfaction for their own internal use, until HCAHPS there was no national standard for collecting and publicly reporting information about patient experience of care that allowed valid comparisons to be made across hospitals locally, regionally and nationally.

Three broad goals have shaped HCAHPS. First, the survey is designed to produce data about patients' perspectives of care that allow objective and meaningful comparisons of hospitals on topics that are important to consumers. Second, public reporting of the survey results creates new incentives for hospitals to improve quality of care. Third, public reporting serves to enhance accountability in health care by increasing transparency of the quality of hospital care provided in return for the public investment. With these goals in mind, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken substantial steps to assure that the survey is credible, useful, and practical. Hospitals implement HCAHPS under the auspices of the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA), a private/public partnership that includes major hospital and medical associations, consumer groups, measurement and accrediting bodies, government, and other groups that share an interest in improving hospital quality. Both the HQA and the National Quality Forum have endorsed HCAHPS.

The enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 created an additional incentive for acute care hospitals to participate in HCAHPS. Since July 2007, hospitals subject to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) annual payment update provisions (“subsection (d) hospitals”) must collect and submit HCAHPS data in order to receive their full IPPS annual payment update. IPPS hospitals that fail to publicly report the required quality measures, which include the HCAHPS survey, may receive an annual payment update that is reduced by 2.0 percentage points. Non-IPPS hospitals, such as Critical Access Hospitals, may voluntarily participate in HCAHPS.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-148) includes HCAHPS among the measures to be used to calculate value-based incentive payments in the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program, beginning with discharges in October 2012.

Currently the HCAHPS survey asks discharged patients 27 questions about their recent hospital stay. The survey contains 18 core questions about critical aspects of patients' hospital experiences (communication with nurses and doctors, the responsiveness of hospital staff, the cleanliness and quietness of the hospital environment, pain management, communication about medicines, discharge information, overall rating of hospital, and would they recommend the hospital). The survey also includes four items to direct patients to relevant questions, three items to adjust for the mix of patients across hospitals, and two items that support Congressionally-mandated reports.

This revision is being submitted in order to add five new items to the survey: Three items that comprise a Care Transitions composite; one item that asks whether the patient was admitted through the emergency room; and one item that asks about the patient's overall mental health. This marks the first addition of items to the HCAHPS Survey since its national implementation in 2006. Form Number: CMS-10102 (OCN: 0938-0981); Frequency: Occasionally; Affected Public: Individuals or Households, Private Sector—Business or other for-profits and not-for-profit institutions. Number of Respondents: 2,713,812; Total Annual Responses: 2,713,812; Total Annual Hours: 365,136. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact William Lehrman at 410-786-1037. For all other issues call 410-786-1326.)

To obtain copies of the supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed paperwork collections referenced above, access CMS' Web site address at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/​PaperworkReductionActof1995, or E-mail your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to Paperwork@cms.hhs.gov, or call the Reports Clearance Office on (410) 786-1326.

In commenting on the proposed information collections please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be submitted in one of the following ways by November 22, 2011:

1. Electronically. You may submit your comments electronically to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for “Comment or Submission” or “More Search Options” to find the information collection document(s) accepting comments.

2. By regular mail. You may mail written comments to the following address: CMS, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs, Division of Regulations Development, Attention: Document Identifier/OMB Control Number, Room C4-26-05, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850.

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Dated: September 20, 2011 .

Martique Jones,

Director, Regulations Development Group, Division B, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.

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[FR Doc. 2011-24522 Filed 9-22-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4120-01-P