Providers catch big break as MDS 3.0 gets one-year delay

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CMS Acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera
CMS Acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera
Nursing homes have an extra year to prepare for MDS 3.0 after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services disclosed it would delay implementing the program overhaul until October 2010.

“(We're) making sure all of the needs of our stakeholders and programs and systems that rely on the MDS can be updated to work efficiently with the MDS 3.0,” said Sheila Lambowitz, division director of the Chronic Care policy group at CMS. “Rather than rush into it, we are stepping back and taking a little more time to work on it.”

The delay also is pushing back intermediary implementation steps. A revised timeline could be issued this month, said Tom Dudley, MDS 3.0 Project Officer for CMS.

“The data specs and item sets due to be published this month will likely not be published until October … so we can release a ‘final' version,” noted Dudley, who spoke during an Open Door Forum in March.

Also, new payment rule information could be released in May, Lambowitz, said.

CMS 3.0 differs in several ways from the current MDS 2.0. Among them: Several sections and items will use a seven-day look-back instead of a five-day look-back. Also, a new MDS item labeling scheme will be used. The form will be used for nursing home and swing-bed providers.

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