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Long-Term Care Providers Preparing for RAI Implementation

MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media, February 5, 2010

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently posted the remaining sections of the new Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) User's Manual on their Web site, allowing long-term care providers to view the manual for the new Minimum Data Set, Version 3.0 (MDS 3.0), in its entirety.

The recently released sections include Chapter 2 – Assessments for the RAI, Chapter 4 — Care Area Assessment (CAA) Process and Care Planning, and Appendix C — CAA Resources. In addition to the final RAI User's Manual sections, CMS also posted a new version of the MDS 3.0 item subsets and a file that lists the changes that have been made to each of the individual item subsets from the previously-posted versions. CMS also removed the MDS 3.0 Item Matrix from the list of available downloads, but the content of this matrix can be found in Appendix F of the RAI User's Manual.

Chapters 1, 3, and 5, and Appendices A through H of the new RAI User's Manual were released November 24 and Chapter 6 was released January 6.

"Now that the complete manual is available, it is the time for providers to read it and continue to highlight the changes and make notes to prepare themselves for the upcoming implementation date," says Randy Kozeal, owner and manager of LTC Midwest, LLC, in Wilber, NE.

Although reviewing the manual in preparation for the changes under the MDS 3.0 is imperative for a successful transition to the new assessment instrument in October, providers should be on the look out for potential manual revisions. During a January 21 SNF Open Door Forum, CMS official Tom Dudley mentioned there may be revisions to the manual in the upcoming months.

"Based on feedback they receive on the manual, they plan to issue an update prior to the March train-the-trainer session for the state RAI coordinators and surveyors," says Rena Shephard, MHA, RN, RAC-MT, C-NE, president of RRS Healthcare Consulting Services in San Diego.


MacKenzie Kimball is an associate editor in the long-term care market at HCPro. She writes PPS Alert for Long-term Care and manages MDSCentral.

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