Friday January 8, 2016
In accordance with Section 6106 of the Affordable Care Act
facilities are required to electronically submit staffing
information to drive accountability effective July 1, 2016.
Providers will be required to submit their staffing and census
data quarterly. They will have 45 days after the last day in each
fiscal quarter to submit - making the due date for the first PBJ
submission November 14, 2016
Get Ready With These Five Steps:
1. Identify & Classify All Direct Staff - all direct
care staff (including agency and contract staff), does not include
individuals whose primary duty is maintaining the physical
environment (example housekeeping).
CMS defines direct care staff as those individuals who, through
interpersonal contact with residents or resident care management,
provide care and services to allow residents to attain or maintain
the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial
· Create a Unique Employee ID - for each direct care employee;
should not contain any personally identifiable information, such as
a Social Security Number (SSN).
· Hire Date - the first date of a staff member's employment and
is paid for services rendered, either through direct employment or
under contract. Note: Contract Employees -first date worked at the
facility and billed for.
· Termination Date - the last date of a staff member's
employment and is paid for services rendered either through direct
employment or under contract. Note: Contract Staff - the last date
the facility communicates that the contract employee will no longer
be providing services (either voluntary or involuntary).
· Pay Type Code - categorizes the staff member as a direct
employee of the facility (exempt or non-exempt), or hired under
contract and paid by the facility. Note: non-exempt - entitled to
overtime pay, exempt - not entitled to overtime pay, contract -
individuals under contract and individuals who provide services
through organizations that are under contract.
2. Assign CMS Job Codes - identifying and assigning a CMS
job code to an employee for each and every shift to ensure a
payroll-based reporting submission is accurate and complies with
CMS requirements. CMS has defined 37 job Codes to be used when
reporting direct care hours worked. Facilities should report the
hours worked based on an employee/s primary function for that
There must be a job code attached for every hour submitted through
the PBJ system. Job responsibilities can change multiple times
throughout the day and CMS recognizes that most roles have a
variety of non-primary duties that are provided throughout the
Assign each position and shift a job code, this job code should be
used and paired with the direct care staff including agency and
contract staff, which works those shifts.
See Attached CMS PBJ Version 1.0 Policy Manual Table 1: Labor and
Job Codes and Descriptions.
3. What Should Be Counted, What Should Not Be Counted? - It
is important for facilities to know what should and should not be
reported in the PBJ when compiling a complete an accurate file for
submission. CMS has provided situations where direct care hours
worked should not be reported:
· Hours paid for any type of leave or non-work related absence
from the facility.
· Any unpaid overtime (a salaried employee works 10 hours but is
only paid for 8 hours).
· Hours for services performed that are billed to FFS Medicare or
· Hours providing services to residents in non-certified
One of the biggest challenges for submission of the PBJ will be to
gather and aggregate staffing data from disparate sources. Direct
care hours are usually tracked through time and attendance systems.
The following situations could possibly be overlooked but should be
· Contract and Agency work.
· Corporate staff at a facility performing task/duties that fit
into a CMS job category (e.g. Regional Director fills in for the
Administrator that's out on vacation or leave).
· Salaried staff that do not clock in or clock out.
4. Create a Checks and Balances System - CMS provided
examples of the difficulty facilities may experience in their
ability to appropriately track and allocate exact hours.
· For Medical Directors, it might be difficult to allocate the
exact hours spent performing medical director duties as opposed to
primary care duties.
· For Consultants, it might be difficult to identify the exact
hours a specialist contractor (e.g. non-agency nursing staff) is
(Note: It is important for facilities to define their expectations
within their service provider contract.)
(CMS has stated that the hours reported should be based on
payments made for services and be verified through payroll,
invoices and/or tied back to contract).
5. Start Now and Be Ready - Your success will be determined
based on staffing with the PBJ staffing measurements by
implementing a proactive process to identify and adjust staffing
levels. Staffing is a challenging process with constant shift
updates including call-offs, time-off requests, employee no-shows,
and fluctuations in census, activity, acuity and workload.
Set up a process that allows staffing information to be easily
accessed, create dashboards that identifies staffing requirements
based on census, against budgeted hours. If gaps are identified
adjustments should be made.
CMS has identified staffing as a key component in delivering
quality care and positive resident outcomes. They use staffing
information in the Nursing Home Five Star Quality Rating System to
help consumers understand the level and differences of staffing in
nursing homes. CMS requires facilities to submit CMS Form 671 and
CMS Form at the time of survey to calculate the Staffing Domain of
the Five Star Rating System.
Hopefully utilizing these 5 steps will help your facility achieve
the staffing and management goals that will enable you to correctly
document and report direct care hours worked.
Wednesday January 20, 2016
Just a quick heads-up from the team at eHDS. See below for a
notice received from CMS. Please plan accordingly!
Please be aware that CMS has planned an off-schedule extended
maintenance period for all of the national QIES systems, which
include the MDS 3.0 Submission and CASPER systems, for Wednesday,
March 16, 2016 beginning at 8:00 PM ET and continuing through
Monday, March 21, 2016 at 11:59 PM ET.
This makes for a 5+ day window where all of the national QIES
systems will be offline and providers will be unable to transmit
any MDS assessments or obtain reports. This also applies to vendors
who submit assessments on the providers' behalf. CMS has started to
post notices to the related application and support websites that
encourage vendors and providers to take this downtime into account
and plan their business around it.
This information is also noted on your Care Watch home page. We
recommend making sure your team is well informed and is planning
for this scheduled downtime.
For access to the original CMS notice, please click