Step 1: Take Training
Training is an ongoing process. It is beneficial to review all training resources and MDS documents periodically to ensure that you did not forget or misunderstand anything.
Texas does not require nursing facility staff to be MDS certified in order to enter or submit Minimum Data Set (MDS) data. However, registered nurse (RN) assessment coordinators who sign that the MDS is complete for residents with Medicaid reimbursement are required to take RUG training (see below).
Required Medicaid RUG Training
RN assessment coordinators who sign MDS 3.0 item Z0500 for residents with Medicaid reimbursement are required to take RUG training in order to have Medicaid services authorized. The course is offered online through the Texas State University Continuing Education program. Follow the instructions on the Texas State University Continuing Education RUG Training website to register for RUG training and take the training online.
The primary tool for Minimum Data Set (MDS) is the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) User's Manual. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also offers online MDS training on topics that include the MDS schedule; item-by-item guidance for completing assessments; and resident assessment protocols, corrections and the prospective payment program for Medicare skilled nursing facilities. Reference the MDS 2.0 materials, effective December 2002, or MDS 3.0 materials, effective April 1, 2012, on the CMS website.
The MDS section of the QIES Technical Support Office (QTSO) offers additional MDS documents that can aid learning. Currently, all of the learning aids on the QTSO site address MDS 2.0 only. Information for vendors developing MDS software is also available on the QTSO site.
MDS training in Texas
One of the best, frequently-updated sources for MDS training is The MDS Mentor, written by Shelly Nanney, RN, RAC-CT, Texas MDS RAI Coordinator, and Brian Johnson, Texas MDS Automation Coordinator.
In addition, the Texas MDS State RAI Coordinator provides MDS training in the state of Texas, but only to limited groups of people:
- Texas state agencies, e.g., the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) or Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC);
- the Texas Quality Improvement Organization (currently TMF); and
- Provider associations, e.g., LeadingAge, Texas Health Care Association, and Texas Association of Activity Professionals.
The Texas MDS State RAI Coordinator cannot provide on-site MDS training to individual nursing facilities, groups of nursing facilities, consulting groups or corporations. However, staff may contact the Nursing Facility Liaison for the facility's region and request that the Texas MDS State RAI Coordinator provide MDS training as part of an annual provider meeting or as a separate class. If enough demand exists, the region may invite the state RAI Coordinator to present. Regional provider meetings/trainings are free, but are generally limited to nursing facility staff in the region that is hosting the meeting.
DADS Education Services offers free Provider Training, including live joint training and online computer-based training on various long term care topics. When it is relevant to the subject matter, MDS information is included in these courses.
Texas provider associations offer MDS training in various locations around the state. Staff may use the following links to review the educational seminars and workshops offered by each association.