Under contract to CMS, NCQA supports the implementation of the HEDIS Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS) and a modified HOS version, the Medicare Health Outcomes Survey – Modified (HOS-M).
The goal of the HOS is to gather valid, reliable, clinically meaningful data about the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. The data have many uses, such as informing and targeting quality improvement activities and resources, monitoring health plan performance and rewarding top-performing health plans, helping beneficiaries to make informed health care choices, and advancing the science of functional health outcomes measurement.
The current version of HOS, HOS 3.0, includes the Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12), and questions that collect information for selected HEDIS Effectiveness of Care measures, Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act (i.e., race, ethnicity, primary language, sex, and disability status), other health questions, including limitations on activities of daily living (ADL), pain, depression, sleep quality, and chronic conditions. The HOS-M is used to measure frailty for Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) organizations.
The HOS-M survey includes the VR-12, ADL questions, and other health questions about memory loss and difficulty controlling urination.
The HOS and HOS-M surveys are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian.
HEDIS Volume 6
HEDIS Volume 6 outlines the technical specifications for the HOS Survey. Volume 6 and other HEDIS publications are accessible from the NCQA store.
Accessing and Using the Surveys
HOS 3.0, the historical versions of the survey (HOS 2.5, HOS 2.0, and HOS 1.0), and the HOS-M instruments are available for download. Complete the intake form below to download the surveys. The HOS and HOS-M surveys are available for download immediately after submitting the intake form.
The Surveys may be used for one of the following purposes:
- Internal, non-commercial informational (reference) purposes
- Participating in or fielding the official CMS Survey
Survey vendors, health plans, or their agents are prohibited from administering any HOS and HOS-M survey questions to Medicare beneficiaries eight weeks before and during HOS administration. CMS also strongly discourages the fielding of non-CMS surveys to Medicare beneficiaries eight weeks before and during HOS administration.
Risks of Off-Cycle Surveys
Surveys of Medicare beneficiaries that use the same or similar questions as the official CMS surveys could have a negative effect on how Medicare beneficiaries respond to the non-CMS, as well as the CMS survey. Some Medicare beneficiaries may be confused by the similarities between the surveys which could result in even stronger negative effects.
Medicare beneficiaries who receive requests to participate in multiple off-cycle or overlapping surveys are likely to ignore one or more of those requests, putting all survey response rates at risk.
To access the HOS and HOS-M surveys, please fill out the following form: