Preparing For The 2017 Call Center Monitoring

On November 16, 2016, the Medicare Drug Benefit and C & D Data Group of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the “2017 Part C and Part D Call Center Monitoring and Guidance for Timeliness and Accuracy and Accessibility Studies”.

In an effort to ensure continued call center compliance in 2017, CMS has contracted with IMPAQ International, LLC, to monitor plan sponsors’ call centers. Although the call center requirements are nothing new for health plans, CMS describes the elements which will be monitored and provides tips on how to prepare for the monitoring studies. IMPAQ will conduct two studies – the Timeliness Study and the Accuracy and Accessibility Study.

As we are quickly approaching January 1, now is the time for plan sponsors to identify call center compliance issues and work to not only clean up any messes but to also beef up your call center staff. Compliance actions may be on the line, but so is the face of your organization – besides providers, your call center staff engages your members and prospective members most often. A confident and well-trained call center staff is crucial to your prospective and current member experience! Carrie Barker-Settles, Director of Sales & Marketing Services, says, “One of the most important beliefs in developing a strong member experience is effective communication to the member. A health plan may want to consider what messages, tone, look, and feel they want the member to see, read, and hear with every touchpoint.

Contact us for ideas on how we can partner with you to efficiently monitor your call centers in preparation for the 2017 CMS Call Center Monitoring and to empower and revitalize your call center staff and strengthen your member experience.

Below are further details on the 2017 CMS Call Center Monitoring:

Timeliness Study

  • Measures plan sponsor’s current member call center phone lines and pharmacy technical help desk lines to determine average hold times and disconnect rates.
  • Conducted year-round with quarterly compliance actions.
  • Plan sponsor’s will receive a compliance action for the Timeliness Study if: 1) it fails to maintain and average hold time of two minutes or less; and 2) it fails to limit the disconnect rate of all incoming calls to 5% or less.
  • Results will be available quarterly through the Health Plan Management System (HPMS).

Accuracy and Accessibility Study

  • Measures plan sponsor’s prospective call center phone lines to determine: 1) the availability of interpreters; 2) TTY functionality; and 3) the accuracy of plan information provided by customer service representatives.
  • Conducted from February through May with compliance actions taken when an organization’s interpreter availability is less than 75%, its TTY score is lower than 65%, or its rate of accurately answering questions is below 75%.
  • Results will be provided via HPMS and announced via an HPMS email.

Do this now:

  • Verify the accuracy of your 2017 Part C and Part D call center phone numbers in HPMS by January 2, 2017.
  • Conduct internal monitoring to identify any compliance concerns for timeliness.
  • Ensure interpreter availability and monitor call center calls to ensure foreign-language calls are handled according to your policies and procedures.
  • Ensure your call center staff is prepared to promptly respond to beneficiary questions – CMS has their timer set at seven minutes!
  • Test all your call center lines to ensure your ability to accept calls.
  • Regularly test your TTY device to ensure proper functionality.
  • Ensure your call center staff is trained and ready to respond to questions regarding items listed in the Medicare Marketing Guidelines, Section 80.1.
  • Ensure your call center staff is trained on the 2017 benefit information.


At Gorman Health Group, we want to change the perception that member experience is the responsibility of Sales and Customer Service, instead showing organizations that member experience is a comprehensive approach with full transparency and cross-functional leadership. Visit our website to learn more about our Member Experience Services >>

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Angela Fox
Angela Fox

Angela Fox is a Senior Consultant of Sales, Marketing & Strategy at Gorman Health Group (GHG). In this role, she provides critical support and consulting services to clients in their market, as well as competitive and product analyses.

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