CMS Announces New Timeline for HOS Fielding in 2021

CMS has just announced that fielding for Health Outcomes Surveys (HOS) will take place only from August through November, replacing the previous April through July timeline.

On September 8, 2020, CMS released a Health Plan Management System (HPMS) e-memo entitled “Reporting Requirements for HEDIS® Measurement Year (MY) 2020, HOS, and CAHPS® Measures, and Information Regarding HOS and HOS-M for Frailty.” In this memo, in addition to providing HEDIS submission dates and information for 2021, CMS clarified and highlighted the following key change regarding HOS administration:

“As announced in CMS-1744-IFC, the 2020 HOS survey administration, originally scheduled for April through July 2020, was delayed due to concerns for survey vendor safety at the time the pandemic began. In the April 15, 2020 HPMS memo titled “Delay of the 2020 HOS & HOS-M Surveys for 2021 Frailty Score Calculation,” CMS announced the delay also applied to the HOS-M survey. 

“In 2020, the HOS and HOS-M surveys are now being fielded August through November. To avoid burdening beneficiaries with back-to-back surveys, CMS will continue to field the HOS and HOS-M surveys on the August through November timeline in 2021 and going forward.”

Per this new guidance, the HOS survey will no longer field from April through July, but rather will continue to be administered in the fall. Since there is already a lag between when data is collected for HOS and when it is used in the Star Ratings, this change should not impact any of the current timeframes for the HOS-based Star Rating measures.

SPH is a CMS-approved Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS) provider.  Read more about how we can help your HOS program here.


About the Author

Esther Turner, Principal, Product Management for SPH Analytics, has been with SPH Analytics for more than eight years. She is an expert in member experience, and her responsibilities focus on our health plan products and survey solutions. Esther monitors requirements and updates from both NCQA and CMS. Her graduate work at Emory University included public policy and both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

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