Understanding the Medicare Wage Index
May 23, 2017
The Dish on DSH
May 25, 2017

It’s 2017. For laypeople, it’s just another turn of the calendar. For hospital administrators, it means a bit more. Every three years, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) requires hospitals to complete the Occupational Mix Survey. The process of collecting and submitting this data can be complex and time-consuming. What else do you need to know about OMS?

The requisite OMS data must be submitted by July 1, 2017. The Occupational Mix Survey is due every three years. It enables hospitals subject to IPPS (in-patient prospective payment system) to make adjustments to their Medicare Wage Index. CMS relies on the data gleaned from the OMS to ascertain the proportion of high-priced employees (e.g. registered nurses) in hospitals across the country.

The Medicare Wage Index is used to adjust reimbursement based on labor markets (i.e. the cost of labor in a particular area), comparing wage levels of a particular geographic area against the national average. Occupational mix adjustments help remove some of the fluctuations in wage index values that result from hiring decisions. For example, if Hospital A hires more registered nurses than average, its average hourly wage will be adjusted down. This prevents artificial inflation of the average hourly wage.

When you complete your OMS data, you must include employed and contracted dollars/hours for:

  • Registered nurses.
  • Licensed practical nurses and  Surgical technologists
  • Nursing assistants and  Orderlies.
  • Medical assistants.

The data is collected for one calendar year (i.e. for the 2017 survey, you will need to provide data for the period January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016). This impacts the Wage Index for a three-year period. OMS reporting significantly influences payments to PPS hospitals and other care providers.

Ensuring your data is accurate and up-to-date is essential. R-C Healthcare is a recognized authority in this area; if you need assistant completing your survey, do not hesitate to reach out.

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