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The Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) Final Rule updates the fee-for-service Medicare Part A payment rates using the new Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) case-mix classification system effective October 1, 2019. On the payment side, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made multiple small corrections, ranging from adjusting the market basket update to correcting the wage-index file.
However, the biggest changes that CMS finalized involve new MDS data submission requirements for Standardized Patient Assessment Data Elements (SPADEs) under the Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program (SNF QRP) that will go into effect on October 1, 2020—just one year after PDPM implementation. But the changes don’t stop there. Directors of nursing services (DNSs) also need to prepare for a few PDPM policy revisions and updates to the Skilled Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing (SNF VBP) program.
Here are the highlights of the FY 2020 SNF PPS Final Rule that DNSs need to know about.
The MDS-based CASPER Quality Measures (QMs) that are posted on Nursing Home Compare, some of which drive the QM domain in the Five-Star Quality Rating System, are a frequent source of headaches for directors of nursing services (DNSs). “Everyone wants Five-Stars in the overall composite rating to attract clients, but adverse events often linger on the CASPER QMs much longer than many DNSs and administrators think they will,” says Carol Maher, RN-BC, RAC-MT, CPC, director of education for Hansen, Hunter & Co. PC in Vancouver, WA.
DNSs should have a basic idea of how long adverse events will impact the CASPER QMs, but that shouldn’t be the primary concern, suggests Maher. “The QMs will impact the overall Five-Star rating, but they have a lesser impact than the survey/health inspection and staffing domains. You must have Five-Stars in your QM domain to be able to add a star to your overall rating, and even Five-Stars in the QMs won’t help if your health inspection rating is one star and you’ve already added a star via the staffing domain. In addition, you have to have only one star in the QM domain to negatively affect your overall rating.” Note: For more information, see the “Overall Nursing Home Rating (Composite Measure)” section of the Nursing Home Compare Five-Star Quality Rating System Technical Users’ Guide.
So the CASPER QMs are most important as a tool that DNSs can use to identify opportunities for improvement, stresses Maher. “If you focus on providing person-centered care and improving care, you will get to five stars.”
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