For most HHAs, HHCAHPS has been implemented for some time, and is out of sight and out of mind of your staff members. Here are three quick tips to help re-engage staff and improve your HHCAHPS program.

1 — Know the HHCAHPS Survey

Institute a standard practice to have your staff periodically read the survey so that the questions stay fresh in their mind, and they are reminded of how the perception of their care and performance is being measured by the patient. Your success hinges on the ability of your staff to deliver quality care and explain care delivery using the actual language found on the survey.

2 — Know what is prohibited by CMS

CMS reminds HHAs that it is acceptable to inform patients during the patient’s next scheduled assessment that they may be asked to respond to a patient experience survey. It is not acceptable, however, for an HHA to:

  • Give a copy of the HHCAHPS Survey questionnaire to patients.
  • Contact the patients to ask them if they want to participate in the survey.
  • Send letters or otherwise contact patients to advise them on how to respond to the survey questions, or tell patients that the HHA expects them to respond favorably or in a certain way to survey questions.

It is also not acceptable for any HHA personnel, including personal and skilled care providers, to discuss the HHCAHPS Survey with patients or help them answer survey questions.
CMS reminds HHAs that the HHCAHPS Protocols and Guidelines Manual, found on the HHCAHPS Website (, is the official manual for the HHCAHPS Survey. Any questions may be directed to the HHCAHPS Coordination Team at 866.354.0985 or

3 — Focus improvement on the publicly reported scores

The HHCAHPS publicly reported scores include two global questions and three composite measures. Because the composites are comprised of other survey questions, by focusing on them, you will automatically be considering the multiple facets of the satisfaction equation.

Take time to carefully understand what processes and procedures are impacting the patient’s perception of their care and the subsequent survey scores. When improving the composites, dive into the individual question scores to understand where to focus improvement to yield the biggest impact.