U S Department of Health and Human Services www.hhs.gov
  CMS Home > Research, Statistics, Data and Systems > Health Outcomes Survey (HOS) > HOS Overview
Health Outcomes Survey (HOS)

Health Outcomes Survey (HOS)

HOS Overview

The Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS) is the first patient reported outcomes measure used in Medicare managed care.  The goal of the Medicare HOS program is to gather valid, reliable, and clinically meaningful health status data in Medicare managed care for use in quality improvement activities, plan accountability, public reporting, and improving health.  All managed care organizations with Medicare Advantage (MA) (formerly Medicare +Choice) contracts must participate.

A random sample of Medicare beneficiaries, who were continuously enrolled for a six month period, is drawn from each participating Medicare Advantage Organization and surveyed every spring (i.e., a baseline survey is administered to a new cohort, or group, each year). Two years later, these same respondents are surveyed again (i.e., follow up measurement). Prior to 2007, the plan sample size was one thousand.  Effective 2007, the plan sample size is increased to twelve hundred. Cohort One was surveyed in 1998 and was re-surveyed in 2000. During the most recent HOS administration in 2008, Cohort Eleven was surveyed and Cohort Nine was re-surveyed.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in collaboration with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), launched the Medicare HOS in 1998. The Medicare HOS is being used as part of the effectiveness of care component of the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDISĀ®).  This measure was initially titled Health of Seniors, and was renamed the Medicare Health Outcomes Survey during the first year of implementation. This name change was intended to reflect the inclusion of people with Medicare who are disabled and under age 65 in the sampling methodology.

The HOS measure was developed under the guidance of a Technical Expert Panel comprised of individuals with specific expertise in the health care industry and outcomes measurement. The measure includes the most recent advances in summarizing physical and mental health outcomes results and appropriate risk adjustment techniques.  In addition to health outcomes measures, the HOS is used to collect the Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults, Physical Activity in Older Adults, Fall Risk Management, and Osteoporosis Testing in Older Women HEDISĀ® measures. 

For comprehensive information on the history and progress of the Medicare HOS Program, including the full spectrum of available data and reports, please see the link to the Medicare Health Outcomes Survey web site in the Related Links Outside CMS below.  For information on how to gain access to HOS non-identifiable data, identifiable data, and limited data set files, please see the link to Files for Order in the Related Links inside CMS section below.

If you have any technical questions regarding the Medicare HOS, please feel free to contact the Medicare HOS Information and Technical Support Line at 1-888-880-0077 or e-mail (see the link in the Related Links Outside CMS section below).  To ask an HOS program or policy question, please see the link in the Related Links Inside CMS section below.


There are no Downloads
Related Links Inside CMS

Ask a Question about the Medicare Health Outcomes Survey

HOS Files For Order
Related Links Outside CMSExternal Linking Policy

Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS)

Medicare HOS Information and Technical Support


Page Last Modified: 08/14/2008 10:57:57 AM
Help with File Formats and Plug-Ins

Submit Feedback