Beginning on July 1, 2016, under an amendment to the Affordable Care Act, long term care facilities must electronically submit to the Secretary of U.S. Department Health and Human Services direct care staffing information, including information with respect to agency and contract staff. The information must be based on payroll and other verifiable and auditable data in a “uniform format,” according to specifications established by the Secretary in consultation with interested parties. The information must specify the category of work a certified employee performs (such as whether the employee is a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, licensed vocational nurse, certified nursing assistant, therapist, or other medical personnel). The information must also include resident census data and information on resident case mix, and it must be reported on a regular schedule. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed a system for facilities to submit staffing and census information to the Secretary. The system is called the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ). According to CMS, PBJ “will allow staffing information to be collected on a regular and more frequent basis than currently collected” and will be auditable to ensure accuracy. All long term care facilities will have access to the PBJ system. On October 1, 2015, CMS began collecting staffing data through PBJ on a voluntary basis. Details on the PBJ system are available on CMS’ Internet site: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/NursingHomeQualityInits/ Staffing-Data-Submission-PBJ.html