The Long Term Care Minimum Data Set (MDS) is a standardized, primary screening and assessment tool of health status which forms the foundation of the comprehensive assessment for all residents of long-term care facilities certified to participate in Medicare or Medicaid.
The Minimum Data Set (MDS) is part of the federally mandated process for clinical assessment of all residents in Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes. This process provides a comprehensive assessment of each resident’s functional capabilities and helps nursing home staff identify health problems. Care Area Assessments (CAAs) are part of this process, and provide the foundation upon which a resident’s individual care plan is formulated. MDS assessments are completed for all residents in certified nursing homes, regardless of source of payment for the individual resident. MDS assessments are required for residents on admission to the nursing facility, periodically, and on discharge. All assessments are completed within
specific guidelines and time frames. In most cases, participants in the assessment process are licensed health care professionals employed by the nursing home. MDS information is transmitted electronically by nursing homes to the national MDS database at CMS.