Beta testing of standardized data elements for post-acute care will start this month in 14 geographic markets, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Officials with CMS and the Rand Corporation, which is contracting with the agency to develop the elements, told attendees on a September Special Open Door Forum call that the testing will include patient interviews and record-review items, recorded electronically on handheld tablets provided to the facilities volunteering in the project. 

Houston, St. Louis, Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, San Diego, Philadelphia and Los Angeles are among the geographic markets. 

Some of the data elements, including ones covering cognitive function and mental status, special services and impairments, were originally included in fiscal 2018 pay proposals for the different post-acute settings. 

That plan fell through after providers said the addition of the elements to the rules was “too much, too soon,” officials said. 

The national beta test of the elements will continue through May 2018, with final reports expected to be compiled through September of that year when the RAND contract concludes. Long-term care stakeholders will have a chance to submit comments on the elements beginning in spring.