More MDS tweaks coming

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Providers must ensure accuracy of their own internal databases before the latest iteration of the minimum data set, or MDS 3.0, becomes effective October 1, a prominent coding consultant emphasizes.

The expert also is urging providers to fully understand all related federal regulations and policy issues, and carefully choose and train the individual responsible for entering and managing their facility's database content.

Leah Klusch, RN, BSN, FACHCA, the executive director of The Alliance Training Center, says it is vital to stay current with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' quality measures and to consider the impact of unplanned discharges on their ratings. 

The revised MDS better reflects changes in nursing home care, resident characteristics and advances in assessment methods, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

A CMS-contracted study by the RAND Corporation and Harvard University concluded that the new MDS 3.0 features improved resident input, accuracy and reliability, increased efficiency and improved staff satisfaction and perception of clinical utility.

The myriad changes to the latest MDS are explained in the agency's 1,160-page “Long-Term Care Facility Resident Assessment Instrument User's Manual,” which was published last fall.