Q: With all of the draft changes and delayed start dates, do you really recommend staff start training for the MDS 3.0, and if so how?
Diane: Given all the changes made to MDS 3.0 drafts and delays in implementation, many facilities are unsure of how to approach training. Some facilities have actually put all MDS 3.0 training on hold until we get closer to the October 2010 implementation deadline. However, holding off on training your staff is not a wise decision. Some of the items that are expected to be included in the final MDS 3.0 are significant and will require some level of training for all your staff. You’re going to need detailed training for MDS coordinators and other staff members who have direct MDS responsibility. But the MDS also impacts billing, medical records, quality, and payment. Training all facility staff members about the MDS 3.0 will require a large amount of time and it is extremely important to begin education as soon as possible.
Beginning training now is also important because the MDS 3.0 is not the only significant change facilities will experience in October 2010. CMS released a proposal on May 1 that calls for a new case-mix classification model, RUG-IV, to be implemented at the same time as the MDS 3.0. Ultimately, RUG-IV will limit the number of residents who qualify for the higher-paying RUG categories, which will decrease overall reimbursement to SNFs and dramatically alter the way facilities operate. Under RUG-IV and the MDS 3.0, facilities will have to modify the way they provide services, gather information (i.e., resident interviews), and manage their census. The best way to ensure your facility is prepared for these drastic changes is to start training staff now.
So, how should you go about training your staff for the MDS 3.0 and RUG-IV? We are currently working on a detailed training guideline that will map out what your facility should be doing from now until implementation. We hope to finish this within the next few weeks and will post it on the Resources page of the Web site as soon as it is completed.