CAHPS survey – Why it matters and how you can do your part

April 1, 2024

The annual Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey is almost here. The survey will be mailed in early March to patients randomly selected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Responses will be collected through the beginning of June, and CAHPS scores will be shared with providers.

CAHPS survey scores are weighted heavily in the Five-Star Quality Rating System. Star ratings influence patient decision-making and can have a direct impact on Medicare Advantage health plan and provider reimbursements.

The CAHPS survey asks patients a variety of questions about their experiences with their health plan and providers, including:

  • Whether they received an annual flu vaccine.
  • How easily and quickly they were able to get an appointment.
  • How long they had to wait once they arrived for an appointment.
  • How effectively their care was coordinated among primary care providers and specialists.

Why it’s important

The goal of the CAHPS survey is to learn more about the patient perspective and use that information to improve health care. Studies show that positive patient experiences lead to better adherence to treatment plans and healthier outcomes.

  • Cigna Healthcare aligns incentives to drive improvements in quality care.
  • Star ratings affect payments to Medicare providers and health plans.
  • Patient experience accounts for over a third of the overall star rating.

Areas providers can impact

For 2024, specific focus areas of opportunity are Getting Needed Care, Getting Care Quickly, and Getting Needed Drugs. The Cigna Healthcare post-visit patient survey, begun in 2022, offers a pulse check for providers and a preview of how patients may rate their experience in your practice, and advance insight into CAHPS scoring. Results of the post-visit survey are delivered quarterly to providers.

Doing your part

It is important to remember that every touchpoint and conversation with your patients greatly impacts their CAHPS survey responses. Be sure that patients are aware of the survey and the opportunity it represents for them to provide feedback that enhances their care experience. The following represents a few simple ways you can influence those responses and partner with your patients to ensure they receive quality care and better outcomes.

Improve comfort and convenience for your patients by:

  • Creating comfortable waiting areas.
  • Minimizing telephone hold times.  
  • Have a 24-hour telephone help line that offers after-hours support and next-day callbacks.

Engage your patients at every office visit by:

  • Asking about their prescriptions, side effects, and difficulty taking or paying for medications. 
  • Discuss generic alternatives, 90-day supplies, and home delivery pharmacy services.   
  • Review any specialty care treatments and services.
  • Explain the referral process, including how long it may take.
  • Talk about flu and pneumonia vaccinations.

Empower your patients to be their own health advocates by:

  • Having open, honest health conversations.  
  • Recommending they make a list of questions to bring to every checkup.  
  • Stressing the importance of yearly vaccinations.  
  • Suggesting they use the Cigna Healthcare Passport to Health to track their preventive care for review during each office visit.  
  • Discussing the importance of filling out all health surveys they receive.

New for 2024

Beginning with the 2024 CAHPS survey, CMS has added a hyperlink and PIN code to prenotification letters, which means participants will be able to complete the survey online (if they have an email address on file with their health plan).

Learn more

Cigna Healthcare offers a variety of resources to support your efforts to effectively communicate with your patients and learn more about the CAHPS survey and Star ratings. Reach out to your Provider Performance Enablement Representative to learn more.

Visit the Provider Education and Assessment Tools page on the Cigna Healthcare Medicare Advantage Providers website ( for webinars, disease-specific education, guides, tools, and resources, including:

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