Beta testing for data elements of IMPACT Act underway; volunteers lacking

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CMS updates surveyor guidance for advanced directives, dementia care and other topics
CMS updates surveyor guidance for advanced directives, dementia care and other topics

Rand Corporation has begun beta testing data elements in 14 U.S. markets that could help standardize reporting measure across post-acute care settings, as required by the 2014 IMPACT Act.

During an Open Door Forum conference call Tuesday, federal officials gave a progress update and said participants are being asked to report data on Medicare recipients across eight categories — ranging from cognitive status and pain to medication reconciliation — that could ultimately impact risk adjustment and reimbursement.

Officials acknowledged they had recruited only 172 providers, including 67 skilled nursing facilities — fewer than they had hoped. CMS also posted protocols for the eight pilot categories, giving providers a glimpse of standards and methods being used.

Data will be collected through May, followed by a stakeholder survey and focus groups with assessors to determine how the evaluation process worked and if patients benefits, according to CMS health analyst Tara McMullen. Rand will make its recommendations to the CMS technical experts next fall.

Though previous information has hinted at a 2020 implementation date for whichever data elements make the final cut, McMullen told participants the current focus is on quality over pace.

“We're thinking things through and by the time we do propose something, it will be a very thought-out approach,” she said.