Clinical staff in nursing homes could spend half as much time filling out Medicare paperwork as they do now because of a streamlined patient assessment form, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. Nursing homes now fill out an eight-page patient assessment form, known as the Minimum Data Set, at regular intervals to ensure Medicare reimbursement. But as of July 1, a new three-and-one-half page version, called the Medicare Payment Assessment Form, will be applicable in most circumstances, the CMS said. It estimated the shorter form will reduce the time clinical staff spend completing each form to 45 minutes from 90 minutes. A notice of the change will appear in Friday’s Federal Register. The new form, available at the CMS Web site, includes all elements needed for the agency’s new quality initiative. Click here to access the form.
In another move aimed at administration simplification, the CMS said it will begin identifying employers by their unique federal Employer Identification Number in claims processing and certain other transactions as of July 30. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 requires use of a standard unique identifier. Providers, health plans and others now may use different identification numbers in their business processes for the same employer, slowing health plan enrollment, premium payment and other such activities, the CMS said. Employer Identification Numbers are issued and maintained by the Internal Revenue Service as part of the income tax system. The final rule establishing the numbers as a standard identifier also will be published in Friday’s Federal Register.