The Primary Care First (PCF) Patient Experience of Care Survey (PECS) (CAHPS® with PCF supplemental items) is designed to measure the experiences of people receiving care from Practice Sites participating in the Primary Care First (PCF) model. Beginning in 2021, the PCF PECS is conducted for PCF Practice Sites by survey vendors approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Primary Care First (PCF) is a 5-year model aiming to improve quality, improve patient experience of care, and reduce expenditures. Clinical quality, utilization, and patient experience measures are used to assess quality of care delivered at the practice and PCF practice sites must meet standards that reflect quality care and model requirements in order to be eligible for a positive performance-based adjustment (PBA). The measures were selected to be actionable, clinically meaningful, and aligned with CMS’s broader quality measurement strategy.
The Patient Experience of Care Survey (PECS), which is based on the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Clinician and Groups Survey (CG), is also required for all practice sites. Positive patient experience reflects high-quality care. Positive patient experience is also associated with higher levels of patient adherence, improved clinical outcomes, and lower utilization of inpatient and emergency department services. The designers of the PCF questionnaire specifically included CAHPS questions that measure whether patients observe providers and practice sites engaging in behaviors connected to PCF objectives, such as use of a care team with 24/7 access to the patient’s EHR and educating patients about how to get emergency care outside of practice hours.
Practice Site Requirements for PCF-PECS
Payment Year 2021 Schedule for PCF-PECS
CMS asks that providers display PECS posters April-December of 2021. This will allow time for patients to see the poster and become familiar with the PECS. Rostering for PECS takes place in early summer 2021. The rosters that practices provide are submitted online through the PCF portal using a template. Health IT vendors can support practices in the creation of their patient rosters. More information about roster submissions will be distributed to practices and health IT vendors closer to the roster submission period. The CMS contractor will select the survey sample. The PECS data collection begins in September 2021 and ends in December 2021. Patient responses to the survey determine the practice score. This score is used to evaluate the practice's strengths and needs in providing patient centered care. Practice scores will be available in the PCF Portal in Spring 2022. The survey vendor will be able to give survey results faster, before CMS’ PEC score report is available.
The general Primary Care First payment model option is designed for primary care practices with advanced primary care capabilities that are prepared to accept increased financial risk in exchange for flexibility and potential rewards based on practice performance. Eligible applicants are primary care practices that:
Eligible practitioners (that each practice applicant must identify by NPI in its application) are those in internal medicine, general medicine, geriatric medicine, family medicine, and/or hospice and palliative medicine. CMS may reject an application on the basis of the results of a program integrity screening.
CMS will also encourage other payers – including Medicare Advantage Plans, commercial health insurers, Medicaid managed care plans, and State Medicaid agencies – to align payment, quality measurement, and data sharing with CMS in support of Primary Care First practices.