The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will not release an updated version of the MDS 3.0 RAI Manual in the near future, the agency confirmed Thursday. 

Agency officials reaffirmed the delay in the manual’s release on Thursday during a Skilled Nursing Facilities/Long-Term Care Open Door Forum. CMS originally announced a delay in MDS 3.0 v1.18.1, which was scheduled for Oct. 1, 2020, in mid-March.

“[We] will be sure to communicate with the survey teams that there will not be a release of the RAI manual, and they will continue to use the 2019 version,” one CMS officer noted. They added the “coding will remain the same other than the language that has changed on the item set.”

Agency officials also reviewed the proposed Physician Fee Schedule Rule for 2021, announced earlier this week, and the latest updates regarding the SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program and Payroll Based Journal during the forum.

CMS officers clarified how nursing homes can report hours for National Guard and state strike teams that assisted with staffing shortages during the coronavirus crisis. They said the hours are reportable in the PBJ only if the facility obtains a statement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the state verifying the staffing provided to the facility. 

During the forum, they also noted that CMS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to publish an FAQ document regarding testing, which should be posted “very shortly.”