Nursing Home Staffing Data Has Changed to PBJ

Nursing Home staffing data is an integral metric used in determining a facility’s quality of care.  Up until recently, the Form 671 was used to compute nursing home staffing data for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).  This computation was a direct influence on how CMS’s Nursing Home Compare site would calculate their Five Star Quality Rating System.  Many future residents and residents’ families would use these star numbers to determine whether or not to choose a facility for skilled nursing facility services, even though they can be artificially inflated.  The Form 671 was recently replaced by a more streamlined Payroll Based Journal (PBJ) system.

How does PBJ collect Nursing Home Staffing Data

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that facilities submit nursing home staffing data electronically based on payroll data.  This data, when compiled with census data, can be used to report nursing home staffing levels in addition to employee turnover and tenure.

Collectively, this data produces better insights on the quality of care delivered as compared to prior nursing home staffing data.  Importantly, this nursing home staffing data is completely free to the facilities and easy to audit to ensure accuracy.

How is the PBJ Nursing Home Staffing Data better?

Nursing Home Staffing Data shows Medicare Fraud Senior Justice Law FirmIn April of 2018, the CMS started using the new PBJ method instead of the old Form 671 method to determine nursing home staffing data.  The old method, which consisted of self-reported staffing for the two weeks prior to an inspection.  Savvy facilities could estimate when an inspection would occur, and could artificially increase staffing levels right before an inspection was to occur.

The new PBJ method, which is continuous throughout the year, provides less opportunity to skew nursing home staffing data.  According to the New York Times:

“Of the more than 14,000 nursing homes submitting payroll records, seven in 10 had lower staffing using the new method, with a 12 percent average decrease, the data show. And as numerous studies have found, homes with lower staffing tended to have more health code violations — another crucial measure of quality.”

Is the PBJ Nursing Home Staffing Data infallible?

While the PBJ data is a step in the right direction, it is far too early to say that it is impervious to abuse.  Currently, PBJ data is submitted in aggregate, so hypothetically a nursing home could create fake employees to boost numbers or artificially increase hours of current employees without being detected.  Sadly there is a rich history of false nursing home staffing data being submitted to cover up understaffing.

If you or a loved one has been injured or neglected at a nursing home or assisted living facility, and you believe the facility might be understaffed, it is integral that you reach out to a elder abuse litigation firm.  Call Senior Justice Law Firm for a complimentary, no-cost and hassle-free call to discuss your potential case at 561-717-0813.

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