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Ask the payment expert
What changes can we expect to see in the upcoming MDS 3.0?

The new MDS 3.0 is still in draft form and not expected to be final until March of 2009. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services continues to maintain that the MDS 3.0 will be effective Oct. 1, 2009.

Recently, CMS published a 220-page “crosswalk” from the MDS 2.0 to the MDS 3.0.  It can be found at

The biggest change from the original draft document is that the five-day “look back” period for many items appears to have changed to a seven-day look back period. The important components of IV medications, suctioning, tracheostomy care and ventilators still remain at a 14-day “look back,” which means that we can still capture those qualifiers from the acute-care hospital stay.

We will have to wait and see how this information fits into the reimbursement system. You need to keep up to date on these ongoing changes with the MDS 3.0.

You can begin using some of the new tools that are incorporated into the MDS 3.0 now. By using the PHQ-9 for depression and the PUSH tool for pressure sore healing, you can be a step ahead when the transition begins.
Also, and probably most important, the MDS is very focused on the residents' voice. By assessing your residents' responses and incorporating the residents' voice into your processes, your staff will be ready for this important change.  

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