Many nurses are not
familiar with the activities of those who follow this career
in Skilled Nursing Facilities. There are many opportunities
open to those who are interested for both RN's and LPN's in
this administrative position.
To fully understand the
responsibilities of an MDS nurse, it is Important to realize
that the source of almost all income for SNF facilities is
Federal Government funds. These funds are dispensed as payments for Medicare
and Medicaid services.
Since 1999 the Federal
Government established a system of control to disburse these funds
based on evaluation of needs/services for each resident. The
responsibility to complete the assessment for the resident is assigned to be
done by a qualified nurse.
The MDS (Minimum Data Set) assessment consists of a thorough review of all the needs for each new resident admitted to the SNF facility. This review involves research into medical, hospital, social, dietary, family records, etc.
As a coordinator, the MDS nurse collaborates with other department heads - therapy, dietary, social, activities to gather all pertinent data. Regular meetings are scheduled with the resident's family to establish and maintain an adequate level of care.
As this thorough
assessment is completed, it insures that the residents receive the maximum
level of care for which they are entitled. There are 53 RUG scores
(level of service rendered) and a schedule of payment is determined
for each score ranging from basic of about $130/day to about
$600/day for highest level of service. This is how the SNF facility is
The condition of the resident is constantly changing and to insure accurate review, the PPS(prospective payment system) requires medicare assessments to be completed on a 5 - 14 - 30- 60 - 90 day schedule. Medicaid assessments are completed initially and reviewed quarterly or as required.
The key and control of
the MDS nurse is maintained by the timely transmittal of
assessments (inbatches) to the State. They are mandated to disburse
the Federal Medicare and Medicaid funds to the SNF facility. It is
important to realize here that the SNF facility will not be paid if there is no MDS nurse to complete and transmit the assessments.
As a career, the MDS
nurse holds a key management role. The skills of the MDS nurse insure
that their facility receives the maximum level of income. Untrained
nurses is this position often result in substantial sums of money being
lost and unclaimed.
The work schedule is
usually based on a Monday to Friday daytime schedule to be
available and interact with other disciplines. Usually, there are two MDS
nurses in a facility (average 120 beds). One lead experienced MDS nurse
to cover the intense and repetitive Medicare assessments and another
one to assist with Medicare and also complete the Medicaid
Here at National
Resident Assessment Institute we train and certify nurses in the MDS
process. We have Live two day seminars with an excellent hands-on work
shop approach to qualify you for this work.
For those who are unable to attend a live seminar, we have captured the entire two day seminar and it is available as an internet broad-cast seminar. We have certified nurses in every state and you have a full month to complete the certification course.
Both RN's and LPN's/LVN's are very active in this position. The MDS assessment must be signed by an RN for completion only. Where LPN's are holding this position, the DON usually signs the Assessments each morning at the stand up meeting.
We sincerely hope this
information will give you a clear understanding of the MDS nurse
position. If we can be of further assistance, please call us at any time.
N B: The Institute is
not a placement or employment agency. We train and certify nurses for
this position. Opportunities are constantly available throughout
the USA at over 16000 established SNF facilities.