Harmony Healthcare International Offers Insight on First-Hand SNF Experience with MDS Focused Survey

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Company Shares Information on Early Survey Rounds and Offers Helpful Tips

Although in the initial pilot tests nearly 100% of the facilities had errors, what we found was that most of our clients who went through the MDS Focused Survey process found the experience to be positive.

“Coming to a building near you” might well be the tagline for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) new launch of the MDS Focused Survey with the purpose of assessing Minimum Data Set, Version 3.0 (MDS 3.0) coding practices and the relationship of that coding to resident care in nursing homes. As a follow-up to the pilot study conducted last year and since April 2015, when surveyor training started, Harmony Healthcare International has been monitoring the impact of the surveys on its clients across the country.

“Although in the initial pilot tests nearly 100% of the facilities had errors, what we found was that most of our clients who went through the MDS Focused Survey process found the experience to be positive,” said Kris Mastrangelo, OTR/L, LNHA, MBA, President and CEO, Harmony Healthcare International. “Most providers called the survey an informative and helpful process. We always recommend that our clients prepare, train and educate in advance of any regulatory or government action.”

Early CMS citations at the facilities visited included inaccurate staging and documentation of pressure ulcers; opportunities to understand and classify antipsychotic drugs and inaccurate coding of restraints.

Harmony Healthcare International offers the following insights, which was shared by Harmony Healthcare clients across the country:

  • ADLs are a Top Focus: Surveyors aren't just checking the medical record for supportive documentation. They are also interviewing direct care staff to see if levels of assistance that are described verbally match the documentation in the medical record and on the MDS Assessment.
  • Shorter, More Intense Visits: The survey is typically 2-3 days long. Surveyors come prepared with a list of assessments to review, but are also pulling additional assessments once those are completed. Surveyors are evaluating the assessments together, side-by-side, in some cases.
  • Not Just a Paper Review: Surveyors spent time reviewing medical records, but also asked questions about potential quality of care issues they saw while walking around the facility. Surveyors were very visible on the units throughout the survey process.
  • Expanded Focus, If Need is Noted: Surveyors are on the lookout for areas that are beyond the scope of the MDS Survey that may affect patient care. Deficiencies identified during the surveys will result in relevant citations and enforcement actions in accordance with normal and existing CMS policy and regulations. Particular areas that have caught the surveyors attention were devices that could be restraints, feeding patients in bed, and patient dignity issues.
  • EMR Access: Providers must facilitate access to their EMR. The staff should be articulate with regards to the EMR functionality and where to locate specific data. This should not be left to the IT Department. A facility can be tagged is access is delayed or if there is insufficient access to medical records.
  • Questions Are Deferred: Surveyors have answered very few questions during the process, however, surveyors did provide a toll-free number that providers could use to ask their questions.

Areas that are found to be in non-compliance will be investigated at the time of the MDS Focused Survey, or will be referred to the State Agency as a concern. Deficiencies identified during the surveys will result in relevant citations and enforcement actions.

Harmony Healthcare International, is the leader in long term care reimbursement, operations and compliance consulting, as well as training and education programs and talent management. The company offers training in Quality Measure Management including the Five-Star Analysis, Compliance and MDS Competency (HC-MDS), MDS Academy and MDS Mentoring. In addition, Harmony Healthcare conducts site visits that delve deeper into the Quality Measures and Mock Surveys that can positively impact survey outcomes.

“We recommend that facilities ensure that ADL documentation in the medical record matches staff perception of Self-Performance and Support assistance that was provided. Great survey preparedness techniques, including QAPI on any area of concern, will help the facility have a successful MDS Survey. Harmony Healthcare offers a suite of training, education, on-site mentoring, a mock survey and consulting that can help buildings navigate the MDS Focused Survey successfully,” added Mastrangelo.

For more information on the MDS Focused Survey and how you can better prepare your SNF's quality, documentation and compliance programs, please contact Harmony Healthcare by clicking here.

About Harmony Healthcare International
Harmony Healthcare International was founded in 2001. With headquarters in Topsfield, MA, Harmony Healthcare International services clients in the skilled nursing, acute care, home health and assisted living markets with operational and compliance consulting, training and educational programs and talent management services. With a staff of accomplished healthcare clinicians who serve as consultants to For-Profit, Not-For-Profit, Standalone and Multi-Facility Chains across the country, Harmony Healthcare International has been ranked among the top 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. for 3 consecutive years by Inc. Magazine. Harmony Healthcare International, “We care about care.”

Visit us at: http://www.harmony–healthcare.com.

Media Contact
Jon A. Di Gesu
Vice President of Marketing
(O) 978.887.8919 (C) 603.770.5731

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