On December 8, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) hosted a special open door forum during which the agency explained the goals and timelines of the RAND contract, a project piloted as part of the IMPACT Act to create standardized patient assessment data that will serve as a common language across post-acute care settings.
The RAND project has completed its first two phases – information gathering from September 2015 to April 2016 and pilot testing, which ran from August 2016 to June 2017 – and is now preparing for the third phase: National Beta testing of the standardized data. This national test is scheduled to occur in the Fall of 2017.
CMS will randomly select providers (including SNFs, HHAs, IRFs, and LTCHs) to participate in the national test with a goal of creating uniformity among patient assessment data that can be used and exchanged across all post-acute platforms. To prepare for the national test, cross-setting feasibility of the data elements determined in phases 1 and 2 will be assessed in two smaller tests. The first test, referred to by CMS as “Alpha Test 1,” will include providers in the Greater Hartford, Connecticut area. Alpha Test 2 will include providers in the Chicago, Illinois area, the Denver Colorado area, and the Houston Texas area, and will incorporate modifications from Alpha Test 1’s results.
Combined results from these two Alpha Tests will then be used to modify the data elements used in the national Beta test. If you want to get involved, providers can contact PACQualityInitiative@cms.hhs.gov. Final reports are estimated to be available in September, 2018.