When families come together to make the important and often difficult
decision of moving a loved one to a nursing home, they want the peace of mind
that their family member is getting the best care they need to stay healthy.
That includes knowing that the facility has sufficient highly trained staff to
devote to all residents.
We at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
also believe that staffing is a vital component of a nursing home’s ability to
provide quality care. That’s why nursing home staffing information is listed on
Home Compare website
, where families making these important decisions can
research the quality of facilities in their communities.
Last year, CMS announced
improvements to Nursing Home Compare
that will provide a more accurate
picture of how a facility is staffed throughout the year. In order to get the most accurate information
, we’ve developed a new system called the Payroll-Based
not only be able to report on the level of staff in each
nursing home, but also will be able to report on employee turnover and tenure.
When combined with resident census information, these data can then be used by
families to evaluate nursing home staffing.
Here are three things that nursing homes need to know about
the Payroll-Based Journal:
First, the mandatory
reporting period starts July 1, 2016.
Since Oct. 1, 2015, Payroll-Based Journal submissions to CMS
were optional to allow facilities to test their processes for submission in the
required format. However, July 1, 2016, is the start of the mandatory
reporting period under CMS regulations
facilities are required to submit the requisite data quarterly, and these
submissions are due to CMS within 45 days of the last day of each fiscal
Second, accuracy is
We will publicly post the new staffing information on Nursing Home
and use this data in the Nursing Home Five-Star Quality Rating System
to help consumers understand the quality and differences of staffing among
nursing homes. Therefore, it is critical for providers to submit data
accurately so the information posted is a true reflection of the staffing at
their facility. The data collected will also be auditable back to a facility’s
payroll to help ensure accuracy.
Third, CMS is here to
As with many new programs, there can be questions and
uncertainty when transitioning to a new requirement. CMS is here to help make
the transition to mandatory reporting on July 1, 2016, as seamless as possible.
Improving public reporting of staffing information is a high
priority for us at CMS, and it is highly valuable for providers, patients, and
their caregivers. We look forward to working with nursing homes, consumers, and
other stakeholders on this important effort.
Kate Goodrich, MD, MHS, is director of the Center for
Clinical Standards & Quality at CMS.