March 28, 2023 | Net Health

3 Minute Read

A Message for SNFs: Don’t Delay. . .It’s Time to Prepare for MDS


There’s a lot to consider and do; preparing today will ensure you are ready for landmark changes

While SNFs have known it’s coming, the reality of implementation for MDS 3.0.1 is finally beginning to sink in for the industry. Some have started to make plans, others are planning to plan, and others are hoping for another delay. A delay is not at all likely to happen; as of now, the new MDS version goes into effect on October 1, 2023. As we all know, compliance is not optional.

That means don’t delay; the time to prepare for MDS changes is now.

Think about Workflow

One of the key areas for SNF leadership to consider is workflow. There’s a recognition that staff are already overburdened and just beginning to dig out from the pandemic. Adding the weight of a major operational and administrative change is a lot to ask. 

The key for busy SNF providers is to know what is changing and to understand where there are gaps in policies and processes. For example, collecting and providing supporting documentation is going to be vital. Even something as routine as documentation of oxygen will require considerable information to support proper MDS coding. There are also revised processes to consider, like expanded patient interviews upon admission. That process will take longer, and staffing and scheduling may need to be adjusted.

Steps for Today

What can be done today? As the saying goes, knowledge is power. SNF leadership should ensure they fully study the MDS changes and impacts and share that knowledge with their teams. Work with your EHR software provider and other vendors to ensure they are ready for the changes and tap into industry resources and CMS for the latest updates. Here are five additional steps to take today.

  1. Ask your staff – those on the frontline – what they think are the key issues and what they believe will help streamline the process.
  2. Consider an audit of current processes to determine your current status and preparedness for new and revised MDS items.
  3. Identify gaps to capture the data needed for new and changed questions. Then . . .
  4. Develop a plan to capture new data. Will it be done through an interview, or do you need to adjust your electronic assessment forms? Who is responsible for this process?
  5. Consider how the changes will impact your workflow. For example, there are multiple new questions in the PPS discharge process. Do you need to account for those taking longer within existing processes and team members’ responsibilities – or should you use interdisciplinary collaboration to determine how to do things differently?

And most importantly, don’t delay. Start moving on your information gathering, planning and training today.

Need more information? Check out Ready or Not . . . It’s Coming: October 2023 MDS Changes for SNFs for more tips and links to industry resources.

Ready or Not… It’s Coming: 2023 MDS Changes for SNFS (and What You Can Do Now)

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