Payroll Based Journal (PBJ)
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) identified staffing as a vital component in a nursing home’s ability to provide quality care. CMS has revised its methods for collecting staffing data and is using it for a myriad of purposes in an effort to more accurately and effectively gauge its impact on quality of care in nursing homes. CMS now posts condensed staffing information on the CMS Nursing Home Compare website and it is used in the Nursing Home Five Star Quality Rating System to rate staffing levels based on resident's care needs.
Section 6106 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires facilities to electronically submit direct care staffing information and hours (including agency and contract staff) based on payroll and other auditable data. CMS developed the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) for this purpose. This system allows staffing information to be collected on a quarterly basis. It is auditable to ensure accuracy.
The data, when combined with census information, can be used to report on the level of staff in each nursing home, as well as employee turnover and tenure, which can impact the quality of care delivered. Public use data files are available on Data.CMS.gov.
All nursing homes have access to this system and are now required to use it. There is no cost. Information on registration and training is available in the downloads section of this page below.
What's New in PBJ?
Due to the upcoming PBJ submission period, the QIES/iQIES Service Center is expecting an increase in call volume and emails between May 1st and May 15th, 2021, which may result in longer hold times.
To minimize wait times and ensure successful PBJ submission, CMS recommends the following:
*Use One Method to Report Issues:
Due to the increase in volume at the QIES/iQIES Service Center, and to minimize backlog of contacts, please use only one method of reporting for the same issue (email or phone). Note: Cases are processed in the order they are received, regardless of the manner in which the Service Center was contacted. Please allow time for processing.
*Submit Your Data Early:
We encourage you to submit your PBJ data early during the submission period. Early submission will allow you plenty of time for Service Center assistance if needed.
*Call the Service Center at Off-Peak Hours:
We strongly recommend calling the Service Center during off-peak hours (8:00 AM-10:00 AM ET OR 2:00 PM-8:00 PM ET).
For More Information
For additional information on PBJ to review new and existing PBJ resources.
Contact the QIES/iQIES Service Center at 1-800-339-9313, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM ET or by e-mail at: iQIES@cms.hhs.gov. Customers who are hearing impaired can dial 711 to be connected to a TRS Communications Assistant.
Reminder: To receive assistance more quickly, consider calling during non-peak hours—before 10:00 AM and after 2:00 PM ET.
CMS REINSTATES REQUIREMENT THAT NURSING FACILITIES SUBMIT PAYROLL-BASED STAFFING DATA; ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO NURSING HOME COMPARE
On June 24, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reinstated the requirement that nursing facilities submit staffing data through the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) System; facilities must submit data for the second quarter of calendar year 2020 (April-June 2020) by August 14, 2020, but not for the first quarter (January-March 2020). CMS, “Changes to Staffing Information and Quality Measures Posted on the Nursing Home Compare Website and Five Star Quality Rating System due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency,” QSO-20-34-NH (June 25, 2020) (Memorandum from David Wright, Director, Quality Safety and Oversight Group, to State Officials, State Survey Agency Directors, and Nursing Home Stakeholders). CMS indicated that approximately 60% of facilities submitted PBJ staffing data for Calendar Quarter 1, despite CMS’s waiver of the requirement, but that CMS will not use those first quarter data to calculate staffing measures or ratings.
Payroll Based Journal (PBJ) News, Alerts and Reminders
New On Demand FFVR
The PBJ On Demand FFVR (Final File Validation Report) is now available to all PBJ Users. The report allows a User to re-generate PBJ Final File Validation Reports that are greater than 60 days old and have been purged from their facility’s CASPER folder. Full details and instructions to run the report can be found in the CASPER Reports Guide located at: https://qtso.cms.gov/reference-manuals/tools .
Updated PBJ FAQ’s
An updated version of the General User, Registration and Submission FAQ is available. It includes information for new PBJ Users, answers to common data specification and submission questions as well as helpful links to find more detailed information. The General User, Registration and Submission FAQ can be located on QTSO at:
https://qtso.cms.gov/providers/nursing-home-mdsswing-bed-providers/reference-manualsIt can also be found on the CMS PBJ Page (Under “Downloads” at bottom of page):
New XML File Layout:
- fileSpecVersion 4.00.0 (implement before June 2, 2020) A reminder that there is a revised version of the PBJ Data Specifications (Version 4.00.0) available to Users. The new release of the Data Specifications reconciles changes to the file layout, fileSpecVersion 4.00.0. Census tags have been removed from the 4.00.0 version due to CMS no longer collecting Census data from PBJ as of April, 2018. No immediate changes are needed when using the current PBJ Submission File fileSpecVersions (2.00.0 and 2.00.3), however, Users are encouraged to begin using PBJ fileSpecVersion 4.00.0.
- XML files submitted with versions other than 4.00.0 on or after June 2, 2020 will be rejected. Please note this does not apply to the PBJ Administration Submission File format. Users who use this file format for linking employees should continue to use fileSpecVersion 1.00.0.
- The new 4.00.0 filespec version can be located in the Downloads section at:
https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/NursingHomeQualityInits/Staffing-Data-Submission-PBJThere you will find the 4.00 Submission Specs, 4.00.0 XSD, and 4.00.0 Excel to XML Template.
The QIES Technical Support Office (QTSO) Help Desk is available for technical support and may be contacted by phone at 800.339.9313 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note the new QTSO email address.
A revised version of the PBJ Data Specifications (Version 4.00.0) is available to Users. The new release of the Data Specifications reconciles changes to the file layout, fileSpecVersion 4.00.0. Census tags have been removed from the 4.00.0 version due to CMS no longer collecting Census data from PBJ as of April, 2018. No immediate changes are needed when using the current PBJ Submission File fileSpecVersions (2.00.0 and 2.00.3), however, users are encouraged to begin using PBJ fileSpecVersion 4.00.0. XML files submitted with versions other than 4.00.0 on or after June 2, 2020 will be rejected. Please note this does not apply to the PBJ Administration Submission File format. Users who use this file format for linking employees should continue to use fileSpecVersion 1.00.0.
On January 7, 2020, users will begin to receive a warning message on their PBJ Validation Reports stating that a file has been submitted with a fileSpecVersion that will be retired on June 1, 2020. Although this is a warning message and the files are currently accepted, please note that this edit will be changed to a fatal error on June 2, 2020. In preparation for this change, we encourage users to begin using the PBJ fileSpecVersion 4.00.0 as soon as possible.
The warning message that will appear on your PBJ Validation Report when using a PBJ Submission Spec versions 2.00.0 and 2.003 will be as follows:
Message: The XML file was submitted using a fileSpecVersion value that will be retired on June 1, 2020. Refer to the CMS PBJ XML File Structure Standards described in the PBJ Data Submission Specifications Overview document. Users are encouraged to begin using PBJ fileSpecVersion 4.00.0. XML files submitted with versions other than 4.00.0 on or after June 2, 2020 will be rejected.
The new 4.00.0 fileSpecVersion and PBJ Data Specifications can be located in the Downloads section at:
For those that use the Excel template to generate XML files, a new template can be found in the Downloads section of the webpage above.
The QIES Technical Support Office (QTSO) Help Desk is available for technical support and may be contacted by phone at 800-339-9313 or by email to email@example.com.
How to Audit Your PBJ Staffing Reports: click here
√ Staffing Data Audits √ Avoid a One-Star Rating √ Staffing Measures and Ratings Methodology √ Requirements for RN Staffing √ Rural RN Waiver Requirements
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