The Practical Side of Working with the Minimum Data Set (MDS)

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Published On: December 16th, 2021Categories: NewsTags: , ,
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Utilize MDS to Improve Quality and Clinical Operations  

The Minimum Data Set (MDS) is not to be feared—appropriately used, it is a valuable tool in your organization’s continual effort to improve quality of care and secure maximum reimbursement. In long-term care, one of the most regulated industries in the country, many government entities keep a close watch on operations.  

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Occupational Health Administration (OHSA), and other state agencies are interested in your data—your failures and successes. Operators need to offer quality care for residents and reassure family members that their loved ones are in the right place for the best care.  

Forum Extended Care Services’s December webinar, The Practical Side of Working with the Minimum Data Set (MDS), focuses on how to harness the power of the MDS and use it to your advantage. Thomas Annarella, LNHA, a Valley Hi Nursing and Rehab administrator, discusses how leadership and accountability separate the good from the great.  

The use of the MDS and role of the MDS Coordinator is an essential position for optimial function within a facility. The MDS Coordinator is responsible for maintaining accuracy and continuity in reporting on the MDS. When is comes to gathering information, leaders should be aware of the process to make sure it is timely and accurate. Nursing notes should not be a copy of the previous day’s comments; they should be a complete and collaborative assessment of each patient.  

To be considered quality and thorough patient-centered care, information must come from various sources, including CNAs, housekeeping, physicians, activity coordinators, and other active caregivers. Individualized assessments and genuine patient-centered care are crucial in providing CMS with an accurate quality care profile. Better quality translates to accurate reimbursement when your organization can support data with documentation.  

The MDS is a critical document, and everyone plays a role in making sure it is accurate and timely. The MDS can be used for quality improvement and reimbursement, but it can also provide regulatory, compliance, and liability protection and pitfalls for your organization. Organizations should learn the MDS, make it an integral part of day-to-day activities, and try to embrace the process to make the MDS advantageous for your organization.  

Remember, leadership and accountability can make or break the use of the MDS. Turnover of MDS Coordinators is inevitable but if you have a quality MDS Coordinator, do your best to keep that person on staff. A poor coordinator or a lapse in this role can devastate an organization.  

Take an in-depth look at the advantages of the MDS in the December webinar, The Practical Side of the Minimum Data Set (MDS). You will find advice, recourses, and detailed information about how to use the MDS, including recognizing f-tag triggers and educating staff on the value of their reporting input. Learn more about the webinar and sign up to view it here.