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Are You Ready to Embrace MDS 3.0?

>By Pam West
VP of Clinical and Regulatory Compliance
Wound Care Certified Nurse
As I am writing this article, CMS is finalizing Chapter 3 of MDS 3.0, which is scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2010. While significant changes have been made from MDS 2.0 to MDS 3.0, we really should not fear the change of the tool itself instead, it's the processes that we must now follow that might cause some concern.

Honestly, we should embrace these changes as they will promote better quality care for residents. The resident is more involved in the process now. You will actually interview the resident to determine mental status, mood, preferences and pain. One concern that many people have right now involves how much information we are feeding CMS about not only our residents but also what we are or are not doing about our issues.

What's New?

With MDS 3.0, the clinical side of long-term care is meeting the regulatory side. Did you know that in the new MDS, you will be submitting the following to CMS?

  • The impact that residents' behavior has on others
  • The presence of pain frequency, intensity and the effect it has on resident function
  • The history of falls, the number of falls and the results of those falls
  • If the resident loses weight even though they are not on a weight-loss regimen
  • Pressure ulcer information, including whether you have assessed the resident for risk, the number of unhealed pressure ulcers, the total number of pressure ulcers, the largest size of the ulcer or ulcers, the most severe type of pressure ulcer and if the ulcer has worsened
  • Whether or not a referral has been made if the resident or family member wants the resident to return to the community.

Preparation strategies

And we were afraid of the QIS before! Now surveyors will have even more resident-specific information before they hit your door. How can you prepare for these changes? Here are a few strategies to try.

  1. Get focused on the new process and take time to understand it inside and out.
  2. Look at your processes, talk as a team and determine who will do interviews and who's responsible for which sections.
  3. Start practicing interviews and find out who is good at doing them.
  4. Review all of your assessment tools and determine which ones you need to change, such as mini mental status, pressure ulcers, etc. and replace them with the recommended assessments from the MDS.
  5. Assign a staff member to monitor the MDS 3.0 page on and keep up with the changes to come.

We'll Keep You Posted

As revisions continue to be made to MDS 3.0, you can count on Embrace and ProMed to keep you informed. We'll post updates on our blog, Growing Together in Health Care ( as well as our Facebook page ( promedsupply). Be sure to stop by often for the latest news!