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One week until the start of the 2021 PCF PECS!
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted September 22, 2021

Data collection for the PCF PEC Survey begins Tuesday, September 28, 2021. The PCF PECS team appreciates all of the vendors’ hard work in getting ready for this new survey. We are looking forward to continuing to assist vendors in launching the PECS successfully. 

Below are some key upcoming dates to be aware of as PECS gets underway:

Tuesday, September 28 – Start of mail data collection/vendor Help Desk open

Tuesday, October 5 – Start of virtual site visits

Tuesday, October 26 – 1st interim data set submission

Tuesday, November 30 – Start of telephone follow-up

Monday, December 6 – Start of interviewer monitoring sessions

Tuesday, December 21 – All mail and telephone data collection ends

Please see the full data collection schedule on the PECS website. Vendors with questions ahead of next week’s launch should contact the PCF PECS Team via e-mail at pcfpecs@rti.org or call 1-833-997-2715.

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PY21 PCF PECS Telephone Interview Recording Submission
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted September 20, 2021

For PY21, PCF PECS vendors will not be required to submit telephone interviewer recorded files as described in the Quality Assurance Guidelines, section 10.5. Instead, PCF PECS staff will schedule remote one-hour interviewer monitoring sessions with each vendor’s CATI operations team. Vendors will also be required to submit documentation confirming they have met the required 10% monitoring goal over the course of the PCF PECS data collection.

Remote One-Hour Interviewer Monitoring Sessions

PCF PECS staff will schedule remote one-hour interviewer monitoring sessions with each vendor’s CATI operations team. If a PCF PECS vendor uses more than one subcontractor to conduct the CATI follow-up, we will conduct a monitoring session with each CATI subcontractor. These sessions may take place at any point during the telephone follow-up period.

During the monitoring sessions, the PCF PECS team anticipates listening to a variety of call types including both interviews and non-interviews. As originally planned for the evaluation of the recorded interviews, the following criteria will be used for evaluation:

  • Politeness to the respondent
  • Voice clarity
  • Proper use of FAQs to answer respondent questions
  • Accuracy in reading questions
  • Appropriate speed
  • Adherence to PCF PECS procedures
  • Correct coding of responses

A PCF PECS Interviewer Monitoring form will be available on the PECS website. If a vendor’s current monitoring form includes the above items, the vendor may submit that instead. If using a vendor-specific form, a scoring key must be included.

The PCF PECS team will raise any issues of unsatisfactory interviewer performance with the vendor. Depending on the severity of the issue, coaching, additional training, increased monitoring, and submitting copies of call recordings may be advised. If necessary, a Corrective Action Plan will be put in place for the vendor.

Documentation of Monitoring

Following the close of data collection on December 21, 2021, vendors will also be required to submit documentation confirming they have met the required 10% monitoring goal over the course of the PCF PECS data collection. To reduce the reporting burden on the vendors, we recommend that vendors submit only one of the following items as their monitoring documentation: 

  • Individual monitoring sheets documenting monitoring throughout the field period
    • Interviewers may be identified via name or ID number.
    • Scored monitoring sheets with the same evaluation criteria described above are acceptable.
    • PCF PECS-supplied monitoring forms as supplied on the PECS website.
  • Monitoring logs
    • Logs should include a list of interviewers monitored each week with a monitoring score.
    • The monitoring log can be electronic (e.g., MS Excel) or a scanned version of a handwritten log kept by the vendor.
  • Other system-generated reports from the vendor that provides documentation of their monitoring activities with an indication of percent of calls monitored.

Vendors will be able to submit all interviewer monitoring documentation through the PCF PECS website, similar to the QAP submission process. To not interfere with vendors’ preparation of the final survey data (due to RTI by January 18, 2022), we ask vendors to provide their PY21 monitoring documentation by January 31, 2022. 

Upon receipt of each vendor’s documentation, the PCF PECS team will review the documentation to determine if they have met the monitoring requirements for the PCF PECS project. We will provide feedback to each vendor regarding their monitoring process and changes needed to their process or QAP. If necessary, a Corrective Action Plan will be put in place to address any deficiencies in the vendor’s monitoring process.

Vendors with questions should contact the PCF PECS Team via e-mail at pcfpecs@rti.org or call 1-833-997-2715.

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Virtual Site Visits for All PCF PECS Vendors with Active PY21 Practice Clients
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted September 15, 2021

Virtual site visits for all PCF PEC Survey vendors with active PY21 practice clients will be conducted to ensure compliance with all PCF PECS requirements. The PCF PECS team will email vendors information about the proposed date, any area(s) of concern, and specific vendor personnel who should be in attendance. The PCF PECS team and the vendor will schedule the site visit at a mutually agreeable time.

Generally, the PCF PECS virtual site visit team will consist of two to four individuals. The visit will be conducted through video conference calls either as a 1-day meeting with breaks or over 2 consecutive days, each with approximately 3-hour meetings. If a subcontractor is used in a substantial role, the virtual site visit will include at least one video conference call with the subcontractor.

Approximately one week prior to the virtual site visit, the PCF PECS team will send a Site Visit Agenda specifying the documents or other resources the vendor is expected to present during the video conference calls. Examples of such documents/resources may include but are not limited to:

  • a video “walk through” of the physical area used for interviewing, mailing, or data processing
  • a document “step through” of the systems and processes used from the point of receiving the sample patient file to preparation of a final data file
  • software/programs in downloading and storing the sample patient file
  • review of telephone interviewing monitoring logs
  • walkthrough of methods used for tracking contacts made and status codes
  • documentation and observation related to SPAM flagging
  • a review of documentation of the above steps
  • interviews with the survey vendor’s key PCF PECS project staff, including the project manager and data manager
  • a discussion about the Help Desk voicemail and email
  • walkthrough of the systems in place to protect the confidentiality of electronic data received from PCF PECS Survey Team and survey data received from patients

Both the PCF PECS site visit team and the survey vendor staff will sign a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA). The CDA states that all staff must maintain confidence or restrict the disclosure of all proprietary information received or observed during the site visit. No personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI) about sampled patients will be shared during the site visit.

After each site visit, the PCF PECS team will prepare and submit to CMS a Site Visit Report, which will summarize the findings from each site visit, including any deficiencies and problems observed and remaining. The Site Visit Report will also describe corrective actions that the survey vendor will be required to take to correct any deficiencies or problems noted. The PCF PECS Team will provide the survey vendor with the Site Visit Report after it has been reviewed with CMS project staff.

Vendors with questions should contact the PCF PECS Team via e-mail at pcfpecs@rti.org or call 1-833-997-2715.

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PCF PEC Survey Sample File Will Be Ready on Monday, 9/13/21
folder_openSample Downloadcalendar_todayPosted September 7, 2021

Sample files for the 2021 PCF PEC Survey will be available Monday, September 13, 2021, for download on the PCF PECS website by survey vendors who have been authorized by one or more PCF practices to collect and submit survey data on their behalf.

PCF PEC Survey vendors will have until 11:59 PM Eastern Time (ET) on Thursday, September 16, 2021, to attest that they have a contract to administer the survey for each of the practices for which a sample is provided and have downloaded the sample file.

The PCF PECS website has a Downloading Sample Files Quick Link to walk vendors through the download process. To download the sample file, vendors should:

  • Log in to the PCF PECS website using their user credentials.
  • Under the "Data Submission" tab, choose the “Sample File Download” option.
  • Read and confirm that they agree to the attestation statement.
  • Click on the link to their sample file.

Vendors will receive an email notification on Monday, September 13th, with a link to the sample file and a password to open the encrypted file. Due to CMS rules regarding data security, only the registered vendor point of contact can receive this email notification. We are unable to include other vendor staff on this communication.

The sample file to be downloaded by the survey vendor will be a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet containing contact information (information needed to administer the survey) for each sampled patient. The sample patient variables contained in each sample file are listed in the example sample file that was posted to the PCF PECS website. If a survey vendor is authorized to administer the survey on behalf of multiple PCF practice sites, patient information for sampled patients from all of the PCF practice sites that have authorized the survey vendor will be included in one Excel file and will be sorted by Practice Site ID.

It is very important that vendors carefully review the sample file to verify that they have a sample for each practice with which they have a contract to administer the survey. Vendors must also review the file to make sure that a sample is NOT provided for a practice with which they do not have a contract. If a sample was provided for a practice with which a vendor does not have a contract, they must notify the PCF PECS Team via email within 24 hours. Please review Sections 4.5 and 4.6 of the Quality Assurance Guidelines for more information about sample file protocols for PCF PECS.

A Sample File Summary Report will be sent to each survey vendor via email message after the sample file is downloaded. This report will show the number of patients sampled for each practice that authorized the vendor to submit data on its behalf.

Vendors with questions should contact the PCF PECS Team via e-mail at pcfpecs@rti.org or call 1-833-997-2715. Practices should contact PCF Support at PCF@Telligen.com or call 1-888-517-7753.

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RTI International will be closed September 3rd & September 6th, 2021, for the Labor Day Holiday
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted August 30, 2021

RTI International will be closed on Friday, September 3, and Monday, September 6, 2021, for the Labor Day holiday. The PCF PECS Team will respond to email and telephone inquiries that are received on those dates after RTI re-opens on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

Vendors with questions should contact the PCF PECS Team via e-mail at pcfpecs@rti.org or call 1-833-997-2715.

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PCF PEC Survey Vendors Must Notify Client Practices of Help Desk contact information
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted August 16, 2021

PCF PEC Survey vendors must soon notify client practices of their toll-free Help Desk contact information. 

In the September 9th and 23rd First Edition newsletters, PCF practices will be asked to print the fall versions of the poster and waiting room FAQs. Space has been provided for practices to include their PECS vendor contact information on the poster and FAQs. The small poster, large poster, and FAQs are available for practices to download on PCF Connect and are also available on the PCF PECS website.

We recommend that practices display posters and waiting room FAQs through the end of December, when 2021 data collection ends.

Vendors with questions should contact the PCF PECS Team via e-mail at pcfpecs@rti.org or call 1-833-997-2715. Practices should contact PCF Support at PCF@Telligen.com or call 1-888-517-7753.

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PCF PEC Survey Envelopes May Be Printed in Black and White
folder_openSurvey Materialscalendar_todayPosted August 13, 2021

PCF PEC Survey envelopes may be printed in black and white. These envelopes will be used in the 1st questionnaire mailing on October 5th and the 2nd questionnaire mailing on November 2nd. This also applies to the facility envelope. As specified in the QAG, postcards and questionnaires may also be printed in black and white.

Vendors with questions should contact the PCF PECS Team via e-mail at pcfpecs@rti.org or call 1-833-997-2715.

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Reminder: 2021 PCF PEC Survey Updated Quality Assurance Plan
folder_openQuality Assurance Plancalendar_todayPosted August 2, 2021

All PCF PEC Survey vendors with active practice clients for 2021 must submit an updated Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) with completed templates of all mail and telephone survey materials by August 13th. The updated QAP should include:

  1. Copies of the formatted mail questionnaire, English and Spanish versions
  2. Screenshots of the programmed telephone instrument, English and Spanish versions
  3. Cover letters, postcards, and envelopes
  4. Final disposition codes, if not previously submitted
  5. Final helpdesk voicemail and email auto-reply text, if not previously submitted

Please refer to section E of the Model Quality Assurance Plan for more details on the mail template and telephone survey material requirements.

Vendors must log-in to the PCF PECS website to submit QAPs using the "Submit Quality Assurance Plan" page under the "Vendors" tab. Instructions on submitting a revised QAP are available here.

If further clarification is needed, the PECS Team will work with the survey vendors to obtain the necessary information.

Vendors with questions should contact the PCF PECS Team via e-mail at pcfpecs@rti.org or call 1-833-997-2715.

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PCF PECS Practices Must Notify Vendor of Residential Care/Assisted Living Facilities
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted July 28, 2021

As noted in this Practice Site Responsibilities document and communicated to practices in the March 11th First Edition newsletter, PCF PECS practices must share with their PECS vendor the names and addresses of residential care facilities and assisted living facilities where their patients reside. All facilities where 5 or more patients reside must be identified. To identify facilities, practices may scan through their patients’ addresses or do a geographical search of nearby residential care/assisted living facilities.

The PECS vendor will be responsible for identifying these patients residing at these facilities if they are sampled. These patients will receive their survey in a special envelope designed to catch the attention of facility staff and solicit proxy respondents. These patients also do not receive telephone follow-up due to the burden this causes facility staff.

Vendors should work with their practice clients to obtain this information prior to printing and mailing at the end of September.

Vendors with questions should contact the PCF PECS Team via e-mail at pcfpecs@rti.org or call 1-833-997-2715. Practices should contact PCF Support at PCF@Telligen.com or call 1-888-517-7753

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ACTION REQUIRED: PCF PEC Survey Vendors Must Review and Confirm Survey Vendor Authorization Report
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted July 23, 2021

PCF PEC Survey vendors must review the Survey Vendor Authorization Report and confirm they have contracts with all listed practices. As described in Section 7.6.1 of the Quality Assurance Guide, this report allows survey vendors to view all PCF practice sites that have authorized them to collect and submit data on their behalf. If there is a practice on the list without a contract, please reach out directly to this practice right away.

As a reminder, all PCF practices must upload a business associate agreement (BAA) to the PCF PECS website by August 30th. CMS will not release a practice site’s sample to their survey vendor unless a correct and executed BAA has been received. Step-by-step instructions and FAQs are available under Quick Links on the right side of the PCF PEC Survey home page. Please work with your practices to ensure that they have uploaded signed BAAs before the August 30th deadline.

Vendors with questions should contact the PCF PECS Team via e-mail at pcfpecs@rti.org or call 1-833-997-2715. Practices should contact PCF Support at PCF@Telligen.com or call 1-888-517-7753.

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