CMS Needs Volunteers to Field Test Standardized Assessment Items
September 26, 2016 02:17 PM
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an opportunity for post-acute care (PAC) providers (Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTCHs), Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Home Health Agencies (HHAs), and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs))to field test standardized data set items in domains required by The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act (IMPACT Act)
The IMPACT Act requires the submission of standardized data for specific assessment categories and quality measure domains using the assessment instruments currently required for use by LTCHs, SNFs, HHAs, and IRFs. The IMPACT Act requires the modification of these assessment instruments to enable the submission of such standardized data, and requires that the data be interoperable to allow for the exchange of data among post-acute and other providers. The standardization that results is intended to serve many purposes, including comparison of data and payment system analyses for evaluations and recommendations for reimbursement based on individual characteristics rather than care setting.
CMS has contracted with the RAND Corporation and its partners, Abt Associates Inc. and Qualidigm, to develop and test standardized assessment-based data elements for PAC settings. Abt Associates will be seeking providers in each of the four PAC settings to participate in testing the standardized data elements. This testing will be conducted in three different waves. The first wave of data collection is currently being conducted in the Hartford, Connecticut area. Wave 2 will begin in January 2017 in three markets including areas in and around Houston, Texas, Chicago, Illinois and Denver, Colorado. The third wave of data collection, slated to begin in July 2017, will be a large, national scale test, covering approximately 14 different markets; the geographic locations for the third wave of data collection have not yet been determined.
Abt Associates is now in the process of recruiting providers for the second wave of data collection in and around Houston, Chicago and Denver to begin in late January 2017. In each of these three markets, Abt staff will be contacting several of each type of PAC provider, with the goal of recruiting one SNF, one HHA, one LTCH and one IRF in each market for participation in the second wave of data collection.
Participation in the field data collection is completely voluntary and providers who do not wish to participate will not be penalized in any way. PAC providers who participate in the field testing will be provided an honorarium for their participation, and will have the opportunity to support efforts to transform and modernize the health care system.
To participate in this project, the agency will need to identify two to three staff members, preferably clinical staff who routinely conduct patient assessments, to participate in a day and a half-long training session on the assessment items and conduct up to two assessments (e.g., admission and discharge) on approximately 20 patients during a ten-week data collection period. Participating providers will also need to accommodate field research nurses who have been hired and trained by the RAND team for this data collection, as they complete their own series of assessments to evaluate validity of the items and conduct inter-rater reliability. The field research nurses will need access to the provider’s medical records; if the provider has electronic medical records, they will need to arrange for access to those electronic records. A provider agreement will be required to document participation in the field work and provide a mechanism for transfer of the honorarium from RAND to participating providers.
This brief Fact Sheet provides more about the project and the field testing.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) strongly encourages agencies in Texas, Illinois and Colorado to participate in the field testing if they are contacted by Abt. Provider input is crucial to understanding the ability of the assessment items to work in the home health setting and across other PAC settings.