To meet its goal of providing comparative plan information to Medicare beneficiaries, the Health Care Financing Administration invested in developing the Consumer Assessments of Health Plans Study (CAHPS) survey of beneficiary enrollees in Medicare Managed Care (MMC) plans. This article describes the process through which the MMC survey was developed, and examines issues in using this Medicare beneficiary survey that have implications for all CAHPS surveys. Cognitive interviews and a field test were conducted with Medicare beneficiaries. A sample of individuals was selected from six health plans. The use of screening questions, skip instructions, and tailored "not applicable" response options appeared to facilitate the response task. Some CAHPS access questions were not meaningful to Medicare beneficiaries. Data do not support the need to adjust for length of plan enrollment. Analyses suggested changes to improve the MMC survey and to make other CAHPS surveys consistent with these changes.
Originally published in: Medical Care, v. 37 no. 3, supplement, 1999, pp. MS69-MS78, MS106-MS115.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.