CMS Announces the Payroll-Based Journal Staffing Data Collection System for Nursing Homes

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 The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently posted information and a Survey and Certification Letter addressing the timing of submissions, sample data entry screens, and its expectations for how nursing homes will electronically submit their staffing data. 

Included are a draft manual for the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) data collection system and software technical specifications for vendors. CMS will initiate data collection on a voluntary basis as of Oct. 1, 2015, with nationwide mandatory reporting by all nursing homes beginning July 1, 2016. 

A More Detailed Look: CMS advises the information currently posted is the first step in implementation, focusing on the type of data that will be collected, and how the data will be submitted to CMS.

Future steps will address activities such as how the data will be verified, how compliance will be enforced, and how the information will be publicly reported (such as quality measures on the Nursing Home Compare website).  CMS will provide information regarding next steps over the next several months. 

Draft Manual for Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) Data Collection System: CMS Staffing Data Submission PBJ includes downloads for the draft manual and the software technical specifications for vendors, i.e., for those facilities that will submit automatically from their payroll vendor.

The draft manual provides general information about:

  • The data collection system.
  • The Payroll Based Journal (PBJ).
  • How data will be collected.
  • An email address for questions:

Included are sample submission screens, submission time frames and deadlines, and job category definitions.

Staffing Data: Staffing and census data will be collected for each fiscal quarter. Staffing data includes the number of hours worked by each staff member each day within the respective quarter.

Census data is the facility’s census on the last day of each of the three months in the quarter. Submission of staffing information through PBJ will be accessed through the Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (QIES).  This is the same system providers use to submit MDS data.

Registration for voluntary submission will begin in August 2015, and CMS will communicate more information at that time. Training will also be provided on registration and for both voluntary and mandatory submissions.

Nursing homes are advised to encourage software developers or vendors to participate in voluntary vendor registration.  CMS will use these registrations to update vendors on PBJ news and conference call information.

Survey and Certification Letter: On April 10, 2015, CMS released Implementation of Section 6106 of the Affordable Care Act -- Collection of Staffing Data for Long Term Care Facilities, a letter announcing that the agency has developed a system for facilities to submit staffing and census information -- the Payroll-Based Journal -- and notifies states of the posting of technical specifications and related information for the electronic submission of staffing information based on payroll data and the posting of general information. 


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