Human error and PBJ reporting

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Dennis Stufft
Dennis Stufft

The definition of human error is the making of an error as a natural result of being human.

Human error is inevitable. We all make mistakes, and when it comes to Payroll Based Journal, receiving a rejected file and error report is inevitable.

When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the requirement for Payroll Based Journal, many healthcare organizations didn't know where to start in order to implement. There was a significant learning curve. Hours were spent on training, webinars, article reading and peer-to-peer networking.  

Without the use of any automation tool, many resorted to manually entering in all of staffing data by hand. This is still the case for many today. Hours upon hours are spent entering in each line item, copying and pasting, double and triple checking the data. Based on the statistics of human error, thousands of reports will be rejected. The submission file will be returned, and the hours of sifting through data is repeated. The file is resubmitted with anticipation of being accepted so valuable time can be spent on focusing on care and not searching through lines of characters and numbers.

The reason an error will most likely be found is because there are almost 70 different errors that CMS will find. Each will fall within three categories:

  1. FATAL: error causing rejection of submitted XML file and resubmission
  2. WARNING: error resulting in a warning message on the feedback report, file is still accepted
  3. INFORMATIONAL: only used to identify items that can be optionally submitted, file is still accepted
Out of the all of the errors that can be found, 62 will result in a FATAL error. This means there is a very high likelihood you will be correcting your file if you receive an error report. If you are still manually entering in all of your data, your odds are even higher.

On January 22, 2017 CMS released another fatal error to their list. Employee IDs that contain invalid special characters are automatically rejected and will require action to correct. The only special characters allowed are underscore (_), comma (,), period (.), dash (-) and backslash (\). For example (PBJ EMP2).  

For a full list of updated submission specifications click here.  If you need a full list of all of the error report descriptions, you can find them on version 2 of the PBJ Provider User guide, starting on page 37.

To alleviate human error, CMS just released a new guideline for both “hireDate” and “terminationDate” items. Both of these are now considered optional with submitted files. This will make it easier to avoid any overlapping or missing data. The “emloyeeIDValue” can now  be used more than once. This will alleviate the need to combine data into one line item. For more details visit the CMS Staffing Data Submission page.

If the decision is made to continue using the manual entry method, the above information should be helpful. The easiest way and most reliable way for a submission file to be accepted is to use an automated PBJ solution. Most can find the inevitable human error before submission. This will save tons of time, frustration and money wasted.  

Any questions regarding PBJ policy submissions should be sent to: nhstaffing@cms.hhs.gov

Dennis Stuff is the president and CEO of Prelude Services.

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