MDS coordinators work in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, to ensure the facility meets state and federal regulations for Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes. MDS, formally referred to as Minimal Data Set, is a federally mandated clinical-assessment process for residents of long-term care facilities. Most long-term care facilities have an MDS coordinator to administer the assessment process for patients and residents.
Minimum Data Set
Minimum Data Set is an assessment and screening tool used in long-term care facilities. It is used to measure physical, psychological, emotional and social functioning of residents, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It uses a series of categories to administer the assessment, which is then used to create care plans. The information is then electronically transferred to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Most employers require MDS coordinators to be a licensed practice nurse or licensed registered nurse. Becoming a licensed nurse requires at least one year of accredited training and passing a state-administered exam to obtain a license. Along with education and a license, employers prefer those with experience in a long-term care environment and formal training or certification using the Minimal Data Set system.
MDS coordinators complete assessments for all residents of a long-term care facility. Care plans are required to be completed within a specific time frame in accordance with state and federal regulatory guidelines. After the assessment is completed, MDS coordinators create care-plan reports for the staff of the long-term care facility to follow. They monitor and ensure care plans are adhered to, properly documented, and residents receive the best care.
Careers and Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests about 26 percent growth for careers related to nursing between 2010 and 2020. An increasing elderly population will require MDS coordinators in residential care and long-term care facilities. In 2013, CareerBuilder.com estimated an average salary of $66,785 per year for MDS coordinators.