Healthcare officials eliminate nursing home assessment protocols

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A roadmap for EMRs: strategies and starting places for long-term care
A roadmap for EMRs: strategies and starting places for long-term care
It's a wrap on RAPs. Resident Assessment Protocols (RAPs) will be eliminated under a new assessment regimen in development, an official with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced on Thursday.

RAPs are a series of 18 indicators used by long-term care providers to help monitor patient conditions such as visual function, cognitive loss and others. Typically, RAPs become part of a resident's care plan. Coding of certain items on the current MDS 2.0 trigger the RAPs, but according to CMS, the system will be eliminated under MDS 3.0 when it is put into use in October 2010.

"Everybody has access to the Internet and you can find at least 12,000 clinical practice guidelines for issues triggered out of the MDS," said Karen Schoeneman, deputy director of CMS's Division of Nursing Homes during an Open Door Forum conference call. "We decided to let providers be free and choose whatever clinical practice guidelines they choose to finish the process. We realize this is a large change. That's why we announced it early -- so you have time to figure out want you want to use, or you can use what CMS has, too."

A new acronym providers will have to get used to is CATs, which stands for Care Area Triggers and replaces the RAPs protocol, officials explained.