Officials detail MDS, RUG transition options for skilled nursing

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Providers will have a week to digest options for MDS 3.0 and RUG-IV transitions discussed during a conference call with federal regulators before attending another call in the series on Wednesday. The next call will be from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Wednesday.

Topics will include the transition from RUG-III to RUG-IV, start of therapy and end of therapy, other Medicare required assessments, and the SNF short stay policy that was not discussed during Tuesday's call. Registration will be necessary, with information how to accomplish it posted on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website, officials said.

Earlier this week, CMS outlined a number of different options for providers to help transition between MDS 2.0 and RUGs-III, and MDS 3.0 and RUGs-IV on Oct 1.One of the biggest challenges for providers will be coding for reimbursements for patients whose stays span from the end of September into October, straddling the Oct. 1 MDS and RUG transition, according to CMS's Sheila Lambowitz. Existing CMS policy would require providers to do an MDS assessment for all residents on Oct. 1, but that's not an attractive option, she said. To help with the transition, CMS has come up with four combination options to minimize the number of assessments needed during the transition. For those who were unable to attend Tuesday's conference call, an audio recording and transcript, which includes the four options, also will be on the CMS website early next week. Informational spreadsheets and slides that accompanied the conference call are available now.