Spelling Out the Differences Between the IPA and SCSA

By Jessie McGill, RN, RAC-MT, RAC-MTA - August 01, 2019

The Significant Change in Status Assessment (SCSA) may be considered an “old dog” in the assessment world, but we need to learn new tricks under the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM). While the SCSA is an OBRA assessment, historically it could count as a PPS assessment, and could therefore affect payment when completed during a resident’s Medicare stay. Under PDPM, that is no longer the case. The Interim Payment Assessment (IPA) is the only assessment, beyond the 5-day, that will be able change a resident’s Medicare rate. While this assessment seems to have similarities to the SCSA, nurse assessment coordinators (NACs) must understand the key differences for criteria, scheduling, timing, and payment and survey implications to ensure success under PDPM.