Nursing home MDS (minimal data set) coordinators maintain patient records adhering to state and federal regulations. They work closely with medical and administrative staff to continuously update patient records, and in most cases, handle the RAI (resident assessment instrument) process for patients from admission to discharge.
Most organizations require a BSN (bachelor's degree in nursing) or LPN (licenced practical nurse), as well as MDS certification. Because many assessments are reported to Medicare, most MDS coordinators may be required to have knowledge of Medicare procedures and coding.
Coordination of patient assessment, as well as care planning to provide the highest quality of care, is an MDS coordinator's most important function. This includes overseeing the assessment process, preparing assessment schedules and ensuring assessments and care plans are done accurately and in a timely manner. In most cases, they're the decision maker on patient assessments and care plans. They prepare, file and track electronic paperwork submissions including required medicare documentation.
Additional responsibilities include working in collaboration with other staff members, and running care plan assessment meetings. Because the MDS coordinator works extensively with the patient information system, they may be responsible for coordinating and educating clinical staff members regarding proper use of the system. They may also be required to perform nursing functions as needed.
When reviewing job opportunities for MDS coordinators, you'll see many openings available. Nurses interested in moving into an administrative role may want to investigate MDS training and certification, but industry terminology may be confusing. MDS terminology will be clarified during training and certification, allowing a nursing professional to interview confidently for an MDS coordinator position.
As of October 2009, average salaries for a licensed practical nurse MDS coordinator are between $18 and $25 per hour, and average salaries for a registered nurse MDS coordinator are between $24 and $28 per hour according to Payscale.com. Salary can increase with experience and working in larger nursing homes with many patients.