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Care planning and assessments a lengthy process, AANAC reports

May 16, 2017
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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On average, it takes five hours and five minutes to complete one Minimum Data Set (MDS).

Nurse assessment coordinators (NACs) spend an average of 80 minutes on the OBRA Comprehensive Assessment, 54 minutes on care planning, and 171 minutes on Care Area Assessments (CAAs). Each comprehensive assessment resulting in an average of 8.9 triggered care areas per resident. NACs are spending more time completing assessments—but that’s only one part of the job description.  

That’s according to the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination (AANAC)’s 2017 AANAC Nurse Assessment Coordinator Time Work Study and Salary Report, a biennial study that tracks the amount of time spent on various job duties by NAC/MDS coordinators, job satisfaction and compensation.

“The importance of an accurate, timely, comprehensive MDS has only grown more critical over time—the MDS process drives everything we do in long-term care,” explains Jane Belt, MS, RN, RAC-MT, QCP, AANAC Curriculum Development Specialist and co-author of the report. “The key to accuracy of the MDSs is for the NAC to have enough time to do the job correctly and according to the requirements of participation. The time reported in the study is for completion of one MDS. The data can reveal if the MDS staffing is at an appropriate level for success.”

Additional key report findings include:

  • The new Section GG to the Medicare Part A assessments take 13.5 minutes, meaning it now takes on average one hour to complete a 5-day Medicare PPS Scheduled Assessment.
  • NACs spend an average of 11.6 hours a week in committees and meetings, excluding attending care conferences. NACs say Medicare oversight and management accounts for an average of 14.6 hours per week.
  • NACs are compensation between $61,000-$70,000 per year or $26-$30 per hour—45 percent receive an annual salary while 55 percent receive an hourly rate. Education and facility location (urban vs. rural) are key factors influencing the amount of compensation.  
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