CMS to kick off national standardized assessment data test in 2017

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The items are being developed under the IMPACT Act, which was signed in 2014
The items are being developed under the IMPACT Act, which was signed in 2014

A national test of standardized assessment data items for post-acute care will begin in fall 2017, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials shared on Thursday.

The items are being developed as part of the RAND Contract, which aims to create and implement standardized patient assessment data for post-acute care providers. The first steps of the RAND project included information gathering around specific categories of the IMPACT Act of 2014, including cognitive status, medical conditions, care preferences and medication reconciliation.

“We were working on the areas with the greatest gaps first,” said Barbara Gage, Ph.D., with CMS and George Washington University, during a special open door forum updating providers. “These have much less standardized approaches across healthcare communities.”

Public comments on the data elements were collected in August. Pilot testing is currently underway to determine the elements' feasibility across post-acute care settings, including skilled nursing facilities, before they're rolled out for national testing.

“You can have the best item in the world, but if it's impractical in practice then it's not in discussion,” Gage said.

Providers will be randomly selected to participate in the national test, which will focus on the reliability and validity of the elements across settings. Final reports on the data elements are expected to be released at the end of the RAND Contract in fall 2018, officials said.