Turning Challenges Into Success: How to Prepare for the Hospice Quality Reporting Program

Starting from the 2014 fiscal year, the Centers for Medical and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a 2% annual reduction to hospices’ payment update for failure to submit quality data under the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP). The penalties under the program are daunting, and gathering data can be a tough challenge often associated with limited staff and various patient-focused priorities.

The program applies to all hospices, regardless of setting, and hospice providers are required to submit data from sources such as the Hospice Item Set and the Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) questionnaire through which future HQRP measures can be developed.

Due to the lack of tested and endorsed outcome measures for hospices across domains of care, CMS has identified three high-priority domains for the future measure consideration and the for the overall goal of symptom management outcome measures:

  • Patient and family engagement: addressing the needs of individuals and their families to assess the level of quality provided by the hospice setting
  • Making Care Safer: responsiveness of a hospice’s initiation of treatment is an important indicator of quality
  • Communication and care coordination: focus on the responsiveness to patient and family preferences for care.

Although these goals may seem intimidating now, making care safer does not have to be particularly challenging. To start addressing these measurement gaps, hospices can take steps to implement meaningful technology solutions. By efficiently gathering data pertinent to the three domains, hospices can make the necessary improvements to their method of care while increasing overall patient satisfaction.

For instance, hospices can implement fall prevention rounding. With fall prevention rounding, caregivers can reduce the number of preventable falls per 1,000 patient days along with the number of falls that result in injuries. By utilizing a fall prevention rounding script with CipherRounds, nurses can evaluate patients based on a multitude of environmental factors such as having a fall mat or a missing arm band. Patients can also be flagged as a “fall-risk” so that caregivers can take extra precautions during the rounding process. The digital solution also allows for the entire care team to stay up to date with patient information and risks.

Another way caregivers can implement patient safety initiatives is through CipherRounds’s infection prevention rounding. The immediate staff feedback, supportive education at the bedside, and frequent collection and sharing of data can steadily improve patient response times and staff coordination. For instance, Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI) have dramatically decreased when infection prevention rounding is used properly.

Overall, digital solutions can help your care team gather the necessary data for the three high-priority domains. As the only technology company that delivers a comprehensive solution that spans the entire care continuum, we are here to help set you up for success. For more information on how we can help you on your journey, contact us today.


As CipherHealth’s Chief Nursing Officer, Lisa Romano, MSN, RN brings more than 25 years of experience in clinical practice, healthcare IT strategy, and healthcare operations to her current role. Prior to previous CNO roles, Lisa spent 19 years as a nurse and hospital administrator at Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network in Allentown, PA, where she was responsible for all patient flow and transfer center operations as well as numerous quality and patient satisfaction initiatives. Lisa is passionate about improving the health of patients across the healthcare continuum.