Survey Season: Why Your Surveys are Important and How We Use Them to Improve

Survey Season: Why Your Surveys are Important and How We Use Them to Improve

Feb 28 2024

Each year, various surveys are sent to members of all Medicare Advantage plans throughout the U.S. asking them to rate their experiences with their health plan.

The first, called the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (CAHPS) is sent in the spring, and the second, the Health Outcomes Survey (HOS) is sent in the fall. These surveys are managed by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and focus on whether or how often you experienced key aspects of being healthy.

What you should know 

These surveys are designed to help CMS determine the quality of the care health care coverage companies provide to Medicare members. As Heather Lopez, senior project specialist at Priority Health says, the responses really do matter.

“At Priority Health, we’re pleased that more than 95% of our Medicare members would recommend us to their friends and family1. We think a big part of that is because of how we listen to our members and these surveys help us do just that. We use the survey results to measure the performance of our quality initiatives, identify what we’re doing well and address areas where we can improve,” Lopez says.

Ian Straayer, director of Quality Improvement at Priority Health, adds that all Medicare beneficiariesregardless of their health planshould take the time to fill out quality surveys to provide important feedback. Feedback helps all health plans and providers make improvements across many different quality measures, which are related to health outcomes, plan operations and member experience and satisfaction.

“We feel good about having survey response rates higher than the national average with more than 40% of our Priority Health Medicare members responding to surveys. Because of this great feedback, Priority Health’s HMO-POS and PPO plans both earned 4.5 stars, while our D-SNP contract earned 4 Stars. Priority Health remains committed to high quality plans that meet members’ needs and is consistently one of the highest rated plans in Michigan. 2. These ratings reflect how well we take care of our members,” Straayer says.

Here are a few surveys Medicare members may receive in the mail over the next year:

CAHPS Survey

One survey you might receive in the spring is the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey, or CAHPS. This survey asks questions about your experience with your health plan and your providers in areas like:

  • Getting needed care
  • Getting care quickly
  • How well doctors communicate
  • Health plan customer service
  • Health plan rating
  • Prescription drug plan rating

HOS Survey

In the fall, look out for is the Health Outcomes Survey, or HOS. This survey includes questions to see if your health care provider discussed key health topics with you. This is to ensure you are receiving the care you need to stay healthy. Topics include:

  • Fall prevention
  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Bladder health

What you can do as a Medicare member

If you receive a survey, please be sure to fill it out completely.

If you receive one of these surveys in the mail, please take the time to fill it out. Be sure to follow the survey directions and answer all questions as directed. Your responses will help CMS ensure you receive high-quality care.

Understand the rankings.

CMS holds a very high regard for these surveys and the rankings from Medicare beneficiaries. CMS will use your answers to help measure the quality of the care we provide. Know that your feedback has a big influence on the overall quality rating of your health plan.

“As a Priority Health member, you may receive surveys from CMS and from us asking you to rate your Medicare plan and the service we provide. We want you know that your responses help us make our plans even better,” adds Lopez.

Answer the questions specifically about your Medicare Advantage plan and your personal experience.

These surveys ask specifically about your experience with your Medicare plan and using your benefits to receive care. As you consider your responses, make sure you’re thinking about your specific and current health plan. Straayer adds you should also respond to these surveys only about yourself, not others.

“We’ll hear from members that they have answered certain questions about a spouse or a friend’s experience instead of their own, and that doesn’t provide CMS or health plans with the most accurate quality data.”

How do I know this is safe?

With heightened awareness on safeguarding your personal information, it makes sense that you want to make sure you feel comfortable and safe completing them. Medicare beneficiaries can rest assured that your health plan or CMS would never risk your personal information. If you ever feel unsure, ask for a second opinion.

“These surveys will never require you to share your health information, like your health plan number, or personal information, such as your driver’s license or social security number. If you’re a Priority Health member and receive a survey and want to make sure it’s safe to complete, please call the number on the back of your Priority Health member ID card and we’ll be glad to help,” Lopez says.

Priority Health wants its Medicare members to know how thankful they are for regular, honest feedback.

“We know it takes time and we truly appreciate each and every survey that is completed. Your feedback helps us continue to provide the high-quality care we’re known for, make improvements and help set the standard for Medicare health plans across the country. But, more importantly, your responses help us make sure you’re getting the care you need to stay your healthiest,” says Straayer.

1 – According to results from 2023 Consumer Assessment of Health Plan Providers and Systems survey

2 – Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system.

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