• PDPM Grouper DLL Package Revised Again--Make Sure Your Software Is Updated (10/19)

    By CMS - October 07, 2019
    A revision to the PDPM DLL Package (V1.0003 FINAL) was posted, and the previous version (V1.0002 FINAL) was removed.  This version corrects four bugs that were identified after the V1.0002 release. The package contains updated test files and documentation.
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  • jRAVEN 1.7.1 Free MDS Submission Software Updated (10/19)

    By CMS - October 07, 2019

    jRAVEN (version 1.7.1) is now available for download which contains the following updates:  

    1. The Final PDPM Grouper, version 1.0003

    2)         All enhancements included with jRAVEN v1.7.0:

    3)            MDS Item Set Version V1.17

    4)            MDS Data Specification Version V3.00

    5)            VUT Version V3.1.0

    6)            The initial PDPM Grouper (replaced with the new version, v1.0003)

    7)            Supports the Correction Policy update to not allow corrections if it causes the target date to cross over the 10/1/2019 date

    8)            Supports the updated submission timeframe change from 3 years to 2 years

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  • Triple Check Your PDPM Transition

    By Jessie McGill, RN, RAC-MTA - October 02, 2019

    The transition from the RUG-IV to the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), was a hard transition. SNFs followed RUG-IV PPS scheduling and rules through September 30 and then, on October 1, they began PDPM. However, there is still a transition process that must be followed, and nurse assessment coordinators (NACs) need to fully understand all the requirements. NACs also need to double check all payer types and assessment reference dates (ARDs) and ensure that, by the end of October 7, the facility has completed all steps the process requires. Lastly, NACs may want to consider completing a quick triple check or a billing review to ensure all the conditions of Medicare billing have been met before the end of the transition. While the triple check process is typically reserved for reviewing the previous month’s claims, completing an expedited check by October 7, before the end of the transition, can help reduce the risk of payment penalties. Here are three key steps to a successful transition: 

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  • RAI Manual v1.17.1 Changes Include New Modification Rule

    By Caralyn Davis, Staff Writer - October 02, 2019

    In addition to updating the coding instructions for MDS item I0020B (ICD Code/Resident’s Primary Medical Condition), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made several other changes to version 1.17.1 of the Long-Term Care Facility Resident Assessment Instrument 3.0 User’s Manual compared to the draft version 1.17. Most were expected given the updated presentations CMS officials gave at the August 13 – 14 Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program (SNF QRP) training event, as well as the finalized requirements in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) Final Rule. These included updates to the definition of an interruption window and changes to the group therapy coding instructions. However, there were also some new updates. For example, CMS established a new 10/01/2019 Cross-Over Rule as part of its MDS modification policy.

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  • Skilled or Not? Tool - REVISED

    By AANAC - October 02, 2019
    Understanding the technical and skilled level of care requirements for Medicare Part A is always a challenge. We’ve broken down the process with this exclusive tool.

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  • MDS 3.0 Provider User's Guide Updated, Including Validation Rpt Error Messages (9/19)

    By QTSO - September 30, 2019
    Key information about how to submit MDS files and how to obtain and understand error messages on initial and final validation reports. 
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  • CASPER Reporting User’s Guide for MDS Providers UPDATED (9/19)

    By QTSO - September 30, 2019
    Provides information and instructions pertaining to CASPER Reporting, including accessing Final Validation Reports.
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  • August 13 - 14 SNF QRP Training Videos and Slides With Answers (9/19)

    By CMS - September 27, 2019
    Post-training materials (includes answers to knowledge checks and interactive sessions) from the August 2019 Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) Provider Training held in Baltimore, MD, on August 13 and 14, 2019 are now available.
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  • RAI Manual v1.17.1 Update Raises Acute ICD-10 Code Questions

    By Caralyn Davis, Staff Writer - September 25, 2019

    Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the long-awaited version 1.17.1 of the Long-Term Care Facility Resident Assessment Instrument 3.0 User’s Manual. One change from the draft version 1.17 manual highlights some ongoing confusion about how to code ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes in MDS items I0020B (ICD Code/Resident’s Primary Medical Condition) and I8000 (Additional Active Diagnoses) to ensure accurate case-mix classification in the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM).

    The ICD-10 code entered in I0020B determines a Part A resident’s default primary diagnosis clinical category for the physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), and speech-language pathology (SLP) payment components under PDPM. In addition, ICD-10 codes entered in I8000 determine whether the resident qualifies for certain comorbidities under the SLP component (identified in Table 14, “SLP-Related Comorbidities,” in the PDPM Calculation Worksheet for SNFs section of chapter 6 in the RAI User’s Manual) or the nontherapy ancillaries (NTA) component (identified in Table 16, “NTA Comorbidity Score Calculation”).

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  • MDS Items Impacting Reimbursement for RUG-IV, PDPM, and SNF QRP

    By AANAC - September 25, 2019
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  • Uncomplicating the Interrupted Stay Policy

    By Jessie McGill, RN, RAC-MT, RAC-MTA - September 24, 2019

    SNFs are in the final stage of preparation for Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) implementation, but alongside the payment model’s introduction, new policies are being introduced that add layers of complexity that nurse assessment coordinators (NACs) must master this fall. For example, the new Interrupted Stay Policy adds a whole new critical thinking process to what has been a simplified PPS schedule. However, the Interrupted Stay Policy does not need to cause anxiety—it just needs to be better understood.  Here are seven tips to uncomplicate the Interrupted Stay Policy:

    1.       Understand the two criteria of the Interrupted Stay Policy.

    The Interrupted Stay Policy essentially combines multiple SNF PPS stays that are separated by less than three days into one stay when the resident meets both of the following criteria:

    1.       Resident returns to the same skilled nursing facility (SNF), and

    2.       Returns by 11:59 pm of the third calendar day

    The Interruption Stay Policy also introduces the concept of the “interruption window,” which begins with the calendar day of discharge and includes the two calendar days immediately following. If the resident’s Medicare stay ends, and the resident remains in the facility with benefit days remaining, then the interruption window begins on the first non-covered day and includes the next two calendar days.

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  • ICD-10 Codes: Connecting the Dots on Complex Medical Residents

    By Caralyn Davis, Staff Writer - September 24, 2019

    The Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) is designed to reallocate Medicare Part A payments made in the Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) to currently underserved beneficiaries, i.e., residents who have more clinically complex needs and high nontherapy ancillary (NTA) costs. To navigate PDPM, nurse assessment coordinators (NACs) will need to be able to code the appropriate active diagnoses, conditions, and treatments for these complex medical residents on the MDS.


    Researching and using accurate ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes is critical to achieving appropriate PDPM case-mix groups for these residents. The ICD-10 code for the resident’s primary diagnosis for the SNF stay, reported in new item I0020B (ICD Code/Primary Medical Condition), will determine their default primary clinical category for classification under the physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), and speech-language pathology (SLP) payment components. ICD-10 codes entered in I8000 (Additional Active Diagnoses) also can factor into comorbidities that would further impact the SLP component, as well as the NTA component.

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  • LTCSP Survey Resources: Surveyor Tools (9/19)

    By CMS - September 12, 2019
    This ZIP file contains resources for surveyors conducting initial surveys under the Long-term Care Survey Process (LTCSP).
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  • CMS Makes Direct Link Between Outcomes and Medical Review

    By Caralyn Davis, Staff Writer - September 11, 2019

    Under the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), resident outcomes will be key to avoiding medical review, said officials with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) during the August 14 Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program (SNF QRP) training session, Patient-Driven Payment Model: What Is Changing (and What Is Not). Note: Find the session slides here.


    The goal of PDPM is for SNFs to provide value-driven care, said officials. “Fundamentally, it comes down to a balance. A high-value and efficient provider is one that is able to achieve high-quality outcomes at low cost.”


    CMS measures SNF quality of care in three main ways:

    • The SNF QRP;

    • The Skilled Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing (SNF VBP) program; and

    • The Five-Star Quality Reporting System on Nursing Home Compare.

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  • Are You Being Bullied in the Workplace?

    By AANAC - September 11, 2019

    It can start out as little things. Something doesn’t feel quite right. The environment around you feels hushed or hostile. And then you become the target.

    That was the experience for a nurse who was bullied for eight years by another staff member in her facility. She was about to walk away quietly and quit her job, like so many had before her, feeling like she could not do anything about her situation other than remove herself from it. But just in time, she found the strength she needed to keep going and to share her voice.

    Although she would like to remain anonymous (we’ll refer to her as Nancy), she wanted to share her story so that, if you are experiencing workplace bullying, you can learn how to overcome it, to move forward, and to start healing.

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