Regulations

CMS announces special surveys on dementia care, MDS coding will launch by mid-year

Surveyors will scrutinize dementia care and Minimum Data Set coding in an upcoming pilot program to test more expansive oversight of these areas, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced. Pilots of the dementia care and MDS coding “focused reviews” are scheduled to begin by mid-2014, according to a memorandum issued Friday.  About five state survey agencies will do on-site assessments in up to five facilities both for the dementia care and MDS pilot, the memo states.

The dementia care survey will take a deeper look at processes related to antipsychotic prescribing. This hot-button issue is still in focus despite long-term care providers recently meeting a 15% antipsychotic reduction goal set through a national initiative, according to CMS. The new survey process, still in development, also might evaluate issues such as pain management and caregiver stress. During the pilot, a dementia care expert will accompany surveyors on their initial site visit “whenever possible.”

The special Minimum Data Set surveys will evaluate coding practices and examine how well facilities link care plans to MDS assessments, according to the memo.

Ultimately, these pilots could lead to “more widespread survey activities” to ensure quality dementia care and MDS accuracy in nursing homes, according to the document. The memo notes that any deficiencies discovered during the pilot surveys will result in citations, and if surveyors identify “additional care concerns,” these will be investigated on the spot or will be subject to subsequent review.

Click here to access the complete memorandum.