HEDIS CAHPS for Health Plans Survey Vendor Certification

The NCQA Survey Vendor Certification Program helps ensure health plans get as accurate data as possible about its members’ experience. It evaluates, trains and certifies private market research firms to administer the HEDIS CAHPS survey on behalf of health plans.

CAHPS 5.1H Survey Updated Fall 2020

  • Reflects increased use of telehealth.
  • Revises some questions to include phone and video visits.
  • Uses wording tested with consumers.
  • Will be part of Health Plan Accreditation—as CAHPS has been for years.

About Certification

The HEDIS® CAHPS® 5.1H survey measures the experience of health plan members. HEDIS CAHPS results are required for NCQA Health Plan Accreditation. State and federal regulators may require HEDIS CAHPS for their programs, also.

The NCQA Survey Vendor Certification program evaluates, trains and certifies private market research firms to administer the HEDIS CAHPS survey on behalf of health plans. It is a comprehensive oversight process, simultaneous to survey administration, that facilitates high-quality data that can be compared across plans.

The program promotes data collection standardization, in accordance with the specifications and protocols in HEDIS Volume 3: Specifications for Survey Measures.

By obtaining certification, organizations can:

  • Learn and align with NCQA protocols for CAHPS 5.1H survey data collection.
  • Be distinguished in the exchange as survey vendors trained and certified by NCQA.
  • Become a preferred survey vendor of choice for health plans seeking NCQA Accreditation or seeking to meet federal and/or state requirements.

Becoming a Certified Vendor

To become an NCQA-Certified survey vendor, an organization must demonstrate that it has the capabilities, experience and expert personnel to collect and report survey results accurately. NCQA issues an annual request for proposal (RFP) for new organizations to apply for certification.

Complete the following steps to become an NCQA-Certified survey vendor:

  1. The RFP for Certification Year 2025 (HEDIS MY 2024) is now available. Click here to view the MY 2024 RFP.
  2. Prepare an official proposal in response to the HEDIS CAHPS Survey Vendor Certification RFP.
  3. Submit the RFP and application fee to NCQA (cahps@ncqa.org) by Wednesday, August 7, 2024, by 5:00 p.m. (ET).
  4. If accepted, participate in survey vendor training in October for new vendors.

After Obtaining Certification

To maintain certification, NCQA-Certified survey vendors:

  1. Participate in annual survey vendor training.
  2. Participate in all NCQA quality oversight activities.
  3. Successfully submit at least one HEDIS Survey sample to NCQA within 24 months of receiving initial certified survey vendor status.
  4. Comply with NCQA’s Code of Professional Conduct for NCQA-Certified Organizations and adhere to NCQA’s certification terms.


NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is the premier tool for monitoring the quality of health plan care. HEDIS Volume 3: Specifications for Survey Measures includes surveys and protocols for the CAHPS 5.1H Survey. Order HEDIS Volume 3: Specifications for Survey Measures today.

Find a Certified Vendor

Are you a health plan looking for a certified vendor? Learn more about what certification means to you or view the vendor directory.

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