The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it is ending the emergency waiver that excused nursing homes from reporting staffing data through the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) system.
CMS previously waived this requirement for nursing homes in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) to relieve administrative burden. As a result, effective immediately, nursing homes will be required to resume submission of staffing data through the PBJ system as outlined in current regulation (42 CFR 483.70(q)). Specifically, nursing homes must submit Calendar Quarter 2 staffing data by August 14, 2020, which comprises data from April – June 2020. Though not required, CMS encourages facilities to also submit this data for Quarter 1 (January – March 2020).
While CMS is removing this waiver, the agency still notes that staffing measures and ratings will be held constant, and will be based on data submitted for Calendar Quarter 4 2019 (October – December 2019). This is because many facilities did not submit staffing data in 2020 as a result of the blanket waiver flexibility that CMS is now eliminating.
In addition, CMS also announced that, beginning July 29, 2020, quality measures based on the data collection period ending on December 31, 2019 will also be held constant. CMS states this is because it is concerned that data from resident assessments conducted after January 1, 2020 will be affected by a separate CMS waiver that relaxed requirements around timelines for completing these resident assessments, which provides the underlying data to calculate quality measures. The agency further notes this does not mean quality measure ratings will be held constant, however, because a facility’s rating could still be updated based on quality measures with underlying data that is earlier than December 31, 2019.