MDS 3.0 Items, Preparation, Regulations

CMS delays MDS 3.0 implementation

Last week, CMS put an end to the MDS 3.0 rumors by announcing that the MDS 3.0  implementation would be delayed until October 2010. HCPro informed readers of this development last week with an e-blast, which I’ll post again below. Even though the new assessment system has been delayed, continue to check MDSCentral for news and information. We’ll post information about the new MDS 3.0 timeline and payment system as soon as CMS releases it.

HCPro’s MDS 3.0 e-blast:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today during the SNF Long-Term Care Open Door Forum that it is delaying the release of the MDS 3.0 until October 2010.

Rather than rushing to meet the original October 2009 implementation date, Sheila Lambowitz, director of the division of insitutional postacute care at CMS, said the agency wants to take its time and ensure that all stake holders and systems can be updated to work efficiently with the MDS 3.0.

CMS is currently working on revising the timeline and will release that in the next couple of months. But according to Tom Dudley, a CMS official, the data specs and final draft won’t be released until October 2009.

The implementation delay stems from concerns that the original start date did not provide enough time for software vendors, state agencies, and other systems to properly prepare for the MDS 3.0. The MDS is a tool used by skilled nursing facilities to assess residents and determine Medicare payments.

“The delay until October 2010 is a positive thing – this gives the states, software vendors, and other stakeholders the time they need to prepare for implementation,” says Rena R. Shephard, MHA, RN, RAC-MT, C-NE, founding chair and executive editor of the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators and president of RRS Healthcare Consulting Services in San Diego. “But this is also a positive for providers – it gives them they time they will need to develop and carry out a plan for training and implementation. I hope they will use it well – this advance preparation can be very important to successful implementation.”

Although professionally disappointed by the delay, Maureen Wern, president of Wern and Associates in Warren, OH believes CMS’ decision was very responsible.

“I feel that many in the industry, particularly the frontline people, were prepared to move forward. However, I certainly understand the need for the delay. If everyone isn’t prepared to do something right it’s appropriate to delay it. It was a very thoughtful decision on the part of CMS, and I’m sure it’ll prove to be the right one,” Wern says.

Long-term care professionals across the nation consider CMS’ decision to delay the implementation of the MDS 3.0 to be positive news.

“When an overhaul of such an instrumental document is being performed, it is best to ensure that it is as complete and tested as possible. This delay shows CMS is taking the process seriously and making the time to fine tune the instrument prior to implementation,” says Kate Brewer, PT, MBA, GCS, vice president of Greenfield Rehabilitation Agency, Inc., in Greenfield, WI.