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Q: I'm a new MDS coordinator and I'm having a hard time keeping up with the schedule of MDS assessments. What's the best way to set up a tracking system?

Julia's PPS Chat, September 29, 2004

Welcome back to our PPS Chat!

It seems that schedules are becoming more and more important every day. We have so much that needs to be accomplished in a 24-hour period, that the only way to keep track of it all is to use a schedule.

The same can be said for MDS assessments. How about if you are new to the MDS? How do you ever keep up with all your duties? Here's the answer-

Q: I'm a new MDS coordinator and I'm having a hard time keeping up with the schedule of MDS assessments. What's the best way to set up a tracking system?

A: The first area you should consider when setting up a system for tracking MDS assessments is the two different types of MDS schedules-OBRA and Medicare. The required OBRA MDSs include the admission, quarterly, annual, and significant change assessments. The required PPS MDSs include the five-, 14-, 30-, 60-, and 90-day assessments, as well as the readmission/return assessment and the other Medicare-required assessment, or OMRA.

A non-Medicare resident follows the OBRA schedule of assessments, whereas a Medicare resident follows both the OBRA and PPS schedule of assessments. That means you need to maintain two concurrent schedules. The tracking system you should use for these two assessment schedules is the system that is the easiest and works the best for your situation.

Some examples of effective systems are

  • an index card system where each resident is listed on a card, which is then placed in order of due date order according to the month
  • a calendar system where the resident's name and the type of assessment due are written on the calendar
  • setting up your MDS computer software system to track assessments

Whichever system you decide to use, always consider the type of resident-Medicare or non-Medicare-when you set up your tracking. Be sure to maintain your system by updating it whenever admissions, discharges, or changes in Medicare payer status occur. By choosing a system that you feel most comfortable with, you should have an easier time keeping up with your MDS schedules.

Therefore, use whatever type of tracking system and schedule that works best for you. Don't try to use someone else's system if it makes no sense to you. You're the one who's completing the MDSs, so you should set up your system as you like it. That way, you'll be successful at your job, something we all would like!

Until we chat again-