A staff member conducts a resident assessment
Credit: Jirapong Manustrong/Getty Images

Officials with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services used Thursday’s Open Door Forum to unfold final plans for nursing homes to successfully complete the transition to the new version of MDS by Oct. 1.

All provider submissions are currently on hold — until 8 a.m. ET Monday morning — while all previous records, submissions and reports are transitioned into the previously announced Internet Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (iQIES). Providers had until 8 p.m. Thursday night to submit material to the old QIES ASAP system before they were locked out for an 84-hour transition period.

Looking ahead, the agency plans to post the final version of the new MDS 1.18.11 data specifications in May and the final MDS RAI 3.0 manual in August in advance of the Oct. 1 implementation date, officials said Thursday. The latter date does not give an abundance of time for providers to prepare for the actual implementation, some experts have said.

Those events will be reported on by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Also, officials will post details to both the Nursing Quality Initiative and Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting programs spotlight and announcement pages.

CMS’ Ellen Berry stressed on Thursday’s Open Door call that once the transition is complete (8 a.m. ET Monday), “all MDS records, new records, modifications and inactivations must be submitted to iQIES.” She also clarified a misstatement from the March Open Door Forum call.

“On the last ODF, I inappropriately stated that as of April 17, you should not access CASPER for reports. I misspoke,” she told conference call listeners. “You will need to access CASPER for your April provider preview reports and June SNF VBP files, as well as for any Five-Star reports, from now until June.

“Beginning in July, you will access iQIES for any new distributed reports and files. For example, July 2023 provider preview reports, October 2023 provider preview reports and so on.”

The provider preview reports, SNF VBP files, Five-Star reports and the QIES ASAP-generated final validation reports, will not be migrated to iQIES, she emphasized.

It is also time for facilities to have newly mandated staff provider security officials in place, Berry reminded. Onboarding for them began in August 2022 and kicked up in November, she noted.

“For those providers who do not have a provider security official, you will want to have one AND will need one in order to submit MDS records to iQIES,” Berry said. “Even if your facility uses a software vendor or third party to submit your MDS records, you still must have a PSO who is a facility staff person.”

The current transition period is for MDS assessments, submission and reports only. Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) and Electronic Plan of Correction (ePOC) reports, which are not MDS-related, will remain in QIES until a later date, Berry noted.

Many details of the MDS/iQIES transition can be found in this helpful CMS “What to Expect reference sheet.