Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has posted an early release of the MDS 3.0 RAI Manual v1.17. The much-anticipated draft document spells out many requirements that operators will need to follow when the Patient-Driven Payment Model takes effect October 1.

The 1,299-page manual appeared on the MDS 3.0 RAI Manual web page yesterday afternoon after a similar notice had been posted on May 14, frustrating observant stakeholders by referring to an attached file that didn’t exist.

The posting will allow providers to actively prepare for the most notable payment and resident classification changes in more than a generation. Although the released document is called a “draft,” it includes many key elements that will help providers and trainers prepare.

Although some of the changes were not covered by CMS in special training sessions in Kansas City two weeks ago, early reviews showed no big surprises, several experts told McKnight’s. They uniformly praised the document for including many examples that help illustrate advisory points.

Of particular value is a 117-page section at the end of the manual that tracks all of the changes. An exception to that is Chapter 2, which is not included in the tracking because so much in it was overhauled. That chapter actually is much shorter this year because it deals with instructions about required assessments, which have fallen in number under PDPM.

Chapter 6 is also entirely new since it deals with the SNF PPS system and contains much of the PDPM language.

CMS explained that more changes may be expected in the coming months.

“Please note this early release is being provided in response to stakeholder feedback,” agency officials noted on the website. “The MDS 3.0 RAI Manual v1.17 contains many updates including information related to the Patient Driven Payment Model. Please check back prior to October 1, 2019 for a final posting which may contain additional updates,” CMS noted.

Monday’s posting caught many insiders by surprise, as CMS officials had not been specific about a release date. Based on historical precedent, many were expecting a release late this week, possibly on Friday afternoon, leading into the start of a holiday weekend.

Stay tuned to McKnight’s coverage for more on this developing story on the RAI manual release.