CMS: It's all systems go for new nursing home assessment tool

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Guest Columns: Helping staff, helping residents
Guest Columns: Helping staff, helping residents

Despite new political turmoil and uncertainty about the fate of healthcare reform, nursing home operators can still expect the scheduled Oct. 1 implementation of the new MDS 3.0 resident assessment tool to take place, federal regulators said Thursday.

The next milepost for the sweeping changes should come next week, when Chapters 2 and 4 and an appendix of the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) manual are published, said Tom Dudley of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. He also noted during the agency's SNF Open Door Forum conference call that highly anticipated “train the trainer” sessions for MDS 3.0 will take place In Baltimore March 15-19 (for states' RAI coordinators, Medicaid directors and survey directors) and April 13-15 (for anyone else who will train trainers, and the public).

It is after these meetings that intensive training of providers and others is expected to take place throughout the states. Dudley said video and print files of the Baltimore conferences will be made available shortly after the second one takes place.

CMS officials also clarified that preparation for the Oct. 1 rollout will continue as planned, despite the recent news of a Senate reform bill provision that would postpone new resource utilization group (RUG) rates until 2011. Only if legislation would be passed would regulators contemplate delaying the rollout, they told the nearly 500 forum listeners.