- MDS stands for Minimum Data Set, yet it is far from being a minimal data set. For nursing home residents, the MDS is a multidisciplinary assessment. This assessment is now 51 pages lengthy, with instructions totaling 1309 pages. Typically, the MDS Coordinator is a Registered Nurse. They are in charge of overseeing the RAI Process, which is also known as the Assessment Process.
- This helps to explain why most people prefer to be referred to be a Resident Assessment Coordinator (RAC) rather than a Minimum Data Set Nurse. Whatever name is used, finishing the MDS is only the start of the job.
What Is The MDS And Why Is It So Important?
- It was a basic functional assessment when the MDS was originally offered 30 years ago. While the MDS is still a functional test, it has grown into much more. The MDS is now used to define nationwide thresholds for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, quality measures, and quality measures.
- MDS data is used to inform quality programs such as the Nursing Home Compare 5-Star Program, Value-Based Purchasing, and the Quality Reporting Program. The MDS’s acuity and census data have an impact on predicted staffing ratios.
- During the annual survey, your state surveyor will also pull information from the MDS that is specific to the institution. The RAC must be familiar with all of the applications listed above, as well as how MDS data affects each of them.
What Are CAAs (Care Area Assessments)?
- The MDS also initiates Care Area Assessments and the Care Planning Process — The data acquired during the RAI process also prompts Care Area Assessments and Care Planning. The Care Area Assessments are a set of 20 areas that require a more thorough clinical evaluation.
- To evaluate each relevant care area, the RAC uses the clinical record, resident interviews, resident’s past medical history, causes, contributing factors, lab values, physician consults, thorough physical examination, and any other pertinent information.
- The RAC then uses clinical judgment, critical thinking skills, and evidence-based nursing practice to get to judgments about the resident’s condition, needs, issues, and strengths in order to design an effective care plan.
Who is eligible to work as an MDS Coordinator or RAC?
- A nurse with outstanding documentation and assessment abilities is the perfect candidate for becoming a RAC. She or he is meticulous, follows the nursing process, and thinks critically.
- The RAC is a leader and educator who works as an administrative nurse. She/he becomes the administrator’s and Director of Nursing Services’ ‘right-hand man.’ The RAI guidebook, Medicare Benefit Policy Manual, MDS 3.0 Quality Measures Manual, Claims-Based Quality Measures Manual, and the 5-Star Users Guide are among the resources that the RAC learns to use.
- A good RAC has had formal training, and it takes a new RAC around a year to feel at ease in the task.