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AHCPR, HCFA Agree to Develop Medicare Consumer Survey Questions

Press Release Date: April 3, 1996

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) and the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) announced today that they have agreed to support a joint initiative to give Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in managed care organizations more information on selecting high quality health plans and services.

The new initiative will be implemented as part of AHCPR's Consumer Assessments of Health Plans (CAHPS®), a five-year project to develop and test survey questions which can be used to measure consumers' satisfaction with their health plans as well as improving ways of communicating this information to consumers. Under the agreement between HCFA and AHCPR, a module specifically tailored for Medicare beneficiaries will be added to the CAHPS® survey.

"This collaboration between HCFA and AHCPR will strengthen the voices of Medicare beneficiaries in improving the care they receive, said Clifton R. Gaus, AHCPR administrator. "Use of this instrument will allow Medicare beneficiaries to evaluate critical aspects of plan services, such as access to and quality of care, as well as their overall satisfaction with the plan" added Gaus.

The CAHPS® surveys are being developed under cooperative agreements with three consortia headed by Research Triangle Institute, the RAND Corporation and Harvard University.

"At HCFA, beneficiaries are our top priority. This joint initiative will lead to more information, better informed health care choices, and higher quality for our beneficiaries," said Bruce C. Vladeck, HCFA administrator.

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855 ; or Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864.

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