Skip to main content

How to make your doctor your health care partner

The Medicare quality survey, the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), offers insight for best care

Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) conducts surveys via mail or phone with randomly selected Medicare patients. Survey results help health care providers to find ways to improve their service to you. It can also serve as a guide to help people enrolled in Medicare take better charge of their health needs through coordinated care with their medical team.

The survey, called the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS),is conducted between March and May. Questions on the survey will ask you about your visits with your doctor. It takes only a few minutes to complete, and is confidential and voluntary.

The survey includes questions you should be asking yourself and your doctor to get the best care.

The doctor will address:

1. CAHPS survey awareness

What types of questions are in the survey, and how can they contribute to someone receiving better health care?

Medicare uses these questions to rate the quality of service you receive. Types of questions include:

• When you needed care right away, how often did you get care as soon as you needed?
• How often did you get an appointment for a check-up or routine care as soon as you needed?

These are questions you should be asking yourself and your doctor to make sure you receive the best care.

2. Getting needed care quickly & getting needed care

What do you tell patients to do if they need care quickly, but it’s not life threatening?

At WellMed/USMD/Optum, we realize that illnesses can happen at any time, day or night. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911. Otherwise, before going to the emergency room or urgent care, we ask patients to call us first. Providers are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We may have in-person or virtual options for those who need care right away.

It is important for you to see your doctor regularly for improved care experiences and wellness. Scheduling an appointment for a physical exam every year is the first step to better health. Our goal is to get you an appointment for a checkup or routine care as soon as needed.

Did you know there is more than one way to see your doctor? WellMed/USMD/Optum offers real-time, on-demand video visits with our clinicians through the MyHealthLightNow telemedicine service. Same-day appointments are available. If you need to see a provider immediately, On Demand telemedicine services are available 24/7/365 to patients with certain Medicare Advantage plans in Texas/Florida, visit in new window).

3. Coordination of care

What’s your advice as to how they can best receive coordinated care when it can be overwhelming for people?

There is no “one–size-fits-all” approach to patient care. At WellMed/USMD/Optum, a primary care doctor may work with specialists to provide medical guidance and provide specialized care. These doctors specialize in a particular medical field such as cardiology, dermatology, neurology, palliative care, podiatry, rheumatology and wound care. Our doctors are updated about any care patients may receive from specialists.

The WellMed/USMD/Optum care team works together to help manage care when different providers and services are needed. We recommend asking your primary care physician how they are coordinating your care with other specialists and others in the practice. If they can’t answer that easily, it’s a problem. Also, before any visits, write down all the questions you might have so you don’t forget. Make sure the doctors give you time to ask questions you have and answer patiently.

4. Where can we get more information?

More information may be found at in new window).