PBJ tips to consider before changing companies

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Cheryl Field
Cheryl Field

I used to enjoy the "All in a Day's Work" article in the humor section of Readers' Digest. But Payroll Based Journal means that "all in a day's work" is less than humorous, especially with the next submission of data due Feb. 14.

Recently I heard our product development managers discussing several PBJ clients who had changed time and attendance vendors. The challenges they discovered, and the lessons learned, are worth sharing with all providers who might be thinking about changing time and attendance software.

  1. Before Contracting: Discuss with the new software company if and how they will provide data to any other vendors who assist your organization with PBJ, or any other labor reporting. Our company's primeVIEW system, for example, receives data from several organizations with direct connections, and works with others that send files to our secure FTP site.

  2. Think Ahead: When changing software, the cut over to the new system should be done at the beginning of a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' PBJ reporting quarter to ensure that all changes and corrections are completed in plenty of time to make the filing deadline. Providers must file within 45 days of the end of the previous quarter.

  3. Advocate to Keep Employee IDs the Same: This request may take a little longer to set up on the front end, but has benefits in turnover reporting. If Employee IDs cannot be transferred over to the new company, CMS PBJ will consider every employee a new hire as they will be getting new employee IDs regardless of their hire date. This will affect your turnover rate on Nursing Home Compare.

  4. Manage the Midnight Split: Discuss how the CMS required midnight hours split will be handled. We have worked with some time and attendance companies who provide for this in their applications, and others for whom we must solve the issue and split the hours. Knowing in advance will prevent errors in your data file.

  5. Expect it when?: When contracting with a new time and attendance company discuss how long it typically takes to not only onboard your organization, but also to provide the data extracts needed for PBJ reporting. Plan extra time in your project plan for vendor integrations. Establish names of implementation contacts that will meet with your vendors and proactively discuss the needs for data transfers.

  6. Plan for Success: There are 35 job codes required in the PBJ reporting. Mapping job codes from a new time and attendance company will take a week or more when working with your vendors. Asking up front for these details and factoring this into your project time line will set you up for a timely and successful go live date.

While it may be all in a day's work, I am grateful to Becky Bos and Jonathan Duvall, devoted product managers at Prime Care Technologies for these PBJ tips.  I hope those of you making a time and attendance change will be smiling just a little bit more when you do.

Cheryl Field is the chief product officer at Prime Care Technologies.

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