FAQs for Survey Vendors


What type of providers participate in ACO REACH CAHPS?

Physician networks and hospitals participate in ACO REACH CAHPS. Participants are called REACH ACOs, an abbreviation for Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health Accountable Care Organizations. REACH ACOs currently participate in one of three tracks: Standards, New Entrants, and High Needs. Note that ACO REACH is an expansion of the Global Professional Direct Contracting Model, under which participants were referred to as Direct Contracting Entities (DCEs). More information can be found at

How does a vendor apply to become a ACO REACH CAHPS approved vendor?

In the December prior to the beginning of a performance year, CMS opens the application period for vendors to become approved for ACO REACH CAHPS. CMS notifies currently-approved ACO REACH CAHPS vendors as well as other vendors that are currently CMS-approved to conduct CAHPS surveys using mixed mode about the ACO REACH CAHPS application. For all performance years, candidate vendors will be required to meet all minimum business requirements, complete a vendor application, complete the training, and submit an approved Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) to become fully approved.

Once approved, does a vendor need to re-apply annually?

Once approved, vendors need to apply annually. Re-applying vendors are encouraged to use their credentials to the project’s CAHPS website to access their previously-submitted application and make any necessary updates.

When are vendors conditionally approved and fully approved?

After completing the annual training and post-training certification in April, vendors are considered conditionally approved. After receiving notice of acceptance of a vendor’s Quality Assurance Plan from CMS in June, vendors are considered fully approved.

When will the annual list of approved ACO REACH CAHPS vendor be released?

The list of conditionally approved vendors is released in April and the list of final approved vendors is released in June. These vendor lists are disseminated to participating REACH ACOs through program materials. The list is also published on the ACO REACH CAHPS website under the “Quick Links” box, and also under the "General Information" tab.

Who can vendors contact if they have questions about the ACO REACH CAHPS?

Please contact the ACO REACH CAHPS Team via e-mail at or call 1-833-870-6433.

The website and email address have been discontinued.

Is vendor training required annually?


Is a Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) required annually?

Yes, QAPs are required for a vendor’s initial year of participation in the CAHPS survey as well as in subsequent years. When submitting a QAP after the first year, vendors should highlight all changes made to their prior submission. Vendors are also required to update/resubmit their QAP within a performance year when there are major changes/updates to vendor staff or processes.

Are DUAs or BAAs required?

Vendors must prepare and submit a Data Use Agreement (DUA) with CMS. The executed DUA will permit vendors to receive beneficiary-level information in the sample files provided by CMS. DUAs are submitted and executed through CMS’ tracking system, EPPE. More information on EPPE can be found here:

Vendors are also required to execute a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with each client REACH ACO. If the vendor has an existing BAA with this client, it can be used provided it is current, accurate, and specific to the REACH ACO.

Is there a website for ACO REACH CAHPS? Will vendors have access and credentials to it?

Survey vendor staff will need to register for website credentials, allowing them to access all functionality necessary to apply for approval and transact information with CMS on the project.

This project’s website is

Survey Administration

Which official CAHPS survey needs to be fielded for the ACO REACH CAHPS Survey?

There are two ACO REACH CAHPS instruments, one for Standards and New Entrants REACH ACOs, and one for High Needs REACH ACOs. Vendors can decide if they wish to offer their services to only Standards and New Entrants REACH ACOs or to both Standards and New Entrants REACH ACOs and High Needs REACH ACOs. Both ACO REACH CAHPS instruments are based on the Accountable Care Organizations CAHPS (CAHPS for ACOs Survey) and include additional content relevant to beneficiary/caregiver experience with care delivered by the REACH ACO. The instruments can be found under the Surveys and Protocols menu of the website.

When will data collection for the ACO REACH CAHPS occur?

Data collection occurs in the fall of each Performance Year. It has typically begun mid-September and ended early December.

What are the data collection modes for the ACO REACH CAHPS?

The ACO REACH CAHPS is an annual survey conducted once per calendar year. Sampled beneficiaries will receive up to 2 mail surveys and 6 telephone calls over the 13-week data collection period.

Where can I find the training materials for the ACO REACH CAHPS?

Closer to the training dates, which are typically late March and early April, the agenda and slides for the ACO REACH CAHPS vendor webinar training are posted on the ACO REACH CAHPS website.

Who will draw the sample?

CMS will draw the sample and deliver it securely to survey vendors.

What languages are allowed for the ACO REACH CAHPS administration?

At the present time, all REACH ACOs and survey vendors are required to offer survey administration in English and Spanish. CMS will provide all Spanish translations, and REACH ACOs and vendors are not permitted to use their own translations. Additional languages may be required in future years.

Are supplemental questions allowed for the ACO REACH CAHPS administration?


Are survey vendors allowed to conduct some analysis and reporting for their client?

Survey vendors may provide reporting to their clients if they follow CMS guidelines found in the Quality Assurance Guidelines, Chapter 8. This document is available on the ACO REACH CAHPS website under the Survey Materials tab. Vendors should be aware that CMS’ CAHPS results are the official results for the ACO REACH program and vendors will not have sufficient information to replicate them.