Historically, many providers have treated the MDS and the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) process as a silo of government-mandated busywork. That’s always been a problem because, since day 1, the primary purpose of the MDS has been to identify resident care problems that are addressed in an individualized care plan. However, the footprints of the MDS are now carved deep into multiple facets of facility life, including:
· The Medicare Part A Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS);
· Some Medicare Advantage payment systems;
· Some Medicaid payment systems;
· The MDS-based quality measures (QMs) that are publicly reported on Nursing Home Compare and used in the Five Star Quality Rating System; and
· The MDS-based QMs that will be publicly reported under the Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program (SNF QRP) beginning in October 2018 assuming ongoing data issues are resolved timely. Note: SNFs also must meet an MDS-based reporting threshold under the SNF QRP to avoid a SNF PPS payment penalty each fiscal year.
Last but not least, the new Long-term Care Survey Process (LTCSP) makes sure that surveyors have MDS-based clinical indicators to guide their investigations from the moment they walk in the door, according to the LTCSP Procedure Guide.