By Janette Jones, Senior Director, CAHPS Services

Over the past two years, CMS has been evaluating the effectiveness of the questions within the Pain Management composite of the HCAHPS survey. Last year, and continuing into data collected for calendar year 2017, CMS decided to remove the pain management questions from the items measured for VBP.

CMS recently released a final ruling in the Federal Register regarding the Pain Management composite; the questions that make up this composite have been changed and will go into effect beginning with data collection efforts for January 1, 2018 discharges. The ruling reads as follows:

On August 2, 2017, in the FY 2018 IPPS Final Rule, CMS announced plans to replace the current Pain Management questions (items 12, 13 and 14 on the HCAHPS Survey) with three new questions that focus on communication about pain. The new pain items will be required on all surveys administered to patients discharged from January 1, 2018 and forward. The new Pain Management items will comprise a new composite measure, “Communication About Pain.” This change will affect all survey translations and all survey modes. The Mail Mode version of the new Pain Management items can be found below.

In the coming months, the HCAHPS Project Team will post official versions of the new Pain Management items for all survey modes and in all language translations on the HCAHPS Web site (www.hcahpsonline.org) on the “Survey Instruments” page. The HPT will also provide more information to approved HCAHPS survey vendors and self-administering hospitals about the transition to the new Pain Management items.

Please note that the current pain questions must be used for all patients discharged before January 1, 2018:

12.  During this hospital stay, did you have any pain?

 Yes
 No  -> If No, Go to Question 15

13.  During this hospital stay, how often did hospital staff talk with you about how much pain you had?

 Never
 Sometimes
 Usually
 Always

14.  During this hospital stay, how often did hospital staff talk with you about how to treat your pain

 Never
 Sometimes
 Usually
 Always

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