CMS examines resident care hours in nursing homes

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has commissioned a study to take a closer look at the time spent on nursing home resident care, the American Health Care Association's director of research said Monday.

The study represents the first national nursing home time study since the establishment of the RUG-III case mix weight system in 1997, Peter Gruhn said. The Iowa Foundation for Medical Care is conducting the study. RUG-III is a system used to determine reimbursement for resident care, including therapy.

CMS is expected to use the data to update the skilled nursing facility (SNF) prospective payment system (PPS) RUG-III weights in the fiscal year 2009 SNF PPS proposed rule. A subsequent report on the data will be the basis for a major refinement to the SNF PPS for the FY 2010 PPS proposed rule. Gruhn spoke during an education session on Medicare. He also touched on the Nursing Home Value Based Purchasing Demonstration, which is expected to begin next year, and other Medicare initiatives.