Editor’s Note: The video link at the end of this article has been changed. The link now leads to a CMS webpage explaining how to access the video.

Providers can now access a training video on discharge assessments and how to properly code using dashes in the Minimum Data Set, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Thursday.

Rabia Khan and Cheryl Wiseman, officials with CMS Quality Measurement and Health Assessment Group, appear in the 30-minute video.

Khan addresses requirements and best practices related to discharge assessments. She speaks about the purpose of discharge assessments, deadlines for completing the assessments, types of discharges and assessments (such as for unplanned versus planned discharges), and information to be included in assessments.

Dashes have often been used when there isn’t an answer to an MDS field. Recent updates to the MDS manual affect when and how dashes may be used in coding. Wiseman defines what a dash is and explains when it can be used. Only a few items do not allow a dash value to be entered. These occur in sections A, V, X and I. One of the recent MDS changes removed the dash as a valid value for gender, item A0800, which means providers must answer either male or female.

“Excessive use of dashes in any assessment item, including on the discharge assessments, also affects the accuracy of the quality measures reported on Nursing Home Compare and the five-star nursing home quality rating system,” Wiseman cautions in the video.

CMS plans to follow up with other training videos on post-acute care topics.

Click here to access the video.