Accuracy key to staying ahead of changes to MDS 3.0, quality measures, experts say

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Leah Klusch
Leah Klusch

Providers should conduct accuracy reviews of their facility's databases in order to prepare for changes to the MDS 3.0 and the Five-Star Quality Measures slated for this year, experts emphasized on Monday.

With MDS 3.0 updates scheduled to hit October 1, and new quality measures expected to be added to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Nursing Homes Five-Star Ratings system even earlier in July, providers “have to make sure [their] MDS' are one thing — accurate,” said Leah Klusch, RN, RN, BSN, FACHCA, during a session at the American College of Health Care Administrators Annual Convocation and Exposition.

“We are in the midst of amazing operational and regulatory adjustments in our industry,” Klusch said. “The ground is moving underneath us, and you need to grab onto something to steady yourself.”

For providers, that “something” should include a thorough, accurate facility database, Klusch said. To create an accurate database, providers should fully verse themselves in the federal regulations, policy issues, manuals and agencies involved with database content. The responsibility of entering content should be delegated, and those who will be handling it should receive training and support documents, Klusch added.

Providers also must get up-to-date with the details surrounding the new quality measures, especially unplanned discharges, which Klusch noted will “have a tremendous impact” on quality ratings. Klusch also advises facilities to stick to an “SHS” policy for collecting resident data — “start taking data when their skin hits the sheets.”

Klusch also urged providers to know their database activity and how many corrections are done in order to maintain accurate data. Operators must not be afraid to do an "honest" audit or evaluation of their data.

“Is [CMS] really concerned about quality here? I don't think so, but this is another way to scrutinize those bills you're sending in,” Klusch said.

An estimated 250 long-term care administrators from across the country have gathered this week to celebrate ACHCA's 50th Annual Convocation and Exposition, held in Philadelphia. The conference concludes on Wednesday.