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CMS to SNFs: Stop overusing dashes in the MDS

June 14, 2011
by Patricia Sheehan, Editor-in-Chief
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A memo released this month by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) urges nursing home providers to monitor their use of dashes in completing the MDS 3.0 assessment. The memo is intended to help providers understand both when to code dashes and the potential adverse impact of inappropriate use of a dash (-) when completing a MDS assessment.

According to CMS, its initial analysis of the first five months of MDS 3.0 data for the discharge assessment shows a larger percentage of dashes (up to 40%), especially for quality measure items such as pain and pressure ulcers. Inappropriate use of a dash has implications for the accuracy of quality measures and for communicating resident status at discharge to support coordination and continuity of care. Excessive use of dashes in any assessment item affects the accuracy of the quality measures reported on Nursing Home Compare and the 5-Star Nursing Home Quality Rating System.

The memo goes on to stress the importance of comprehensive data submission in providing an accurate quality measure and to make a facility’s quality measures as representative as possible. To that end, CMS suggests that future manual updates will provide more detailed guidance and training to appropriately code clinical items to accurately reflect care provided. In the meantime, CMS stresses to all providers that the assessments must be fully completed with all available information at the time of assessment.

Click here to view the CMS memo.

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Patricia Sheehan

Patricia Sheehan

@longtermliving

Patricia Sheehan wrote for Long-Term Living when she was editor-in-chief. She left that...