MDS Coordinator Certification and Training: Online Programs
Are you a nurse or other healthcare worker with an interest in ensuring the accurate retention of records in compliance with federal guidelines? If so, then consider training to become certified as a Minimum Data Set (MDS) coordinator. As described below, this training can be completed online. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
How Can I Become Certified as an MDS Coordinator?
It is not legally required that you earn certification to work as an MDS coordinator; however, in many cases, your employment opportunities can be significantly enhanced by earning certification. You can become certified as an MDS Resident Assessment Coordinator (RAC-CT) through the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators (www.aanac.org). Certification is possible through online courses, book-based study, live workshops or a combination of these options.
Outside of this certification, other organizations offer MDS training. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services makes some training materials available online, among other sources (www.cms.gov). Studying these materials does not lead to certification, but you can learn about the latest MDS software and how to incorporate it into your profession.
Are There Any Prerequisites?
You'll need to be a licensed nurse prior to earning your MDS certification. To become licensed, you must graduate from an approved educational program and subsequently pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (www.ncsbn.org). There are several versions of the NCLEX, depending upon your area of specialization. These include exams for the registered nurse (RN) and licensed practical nurse (LPN).
What Courses Will I Take?
To earn certification through AANAC, you'll need to take a total of ten courses. These include seven core courses and three electives. Your core courses include topics such as coding for the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1987, timing requirements for the Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNFPPS) and Medicare Part A. Possible elective courses cover precisely assessing functional status and accurate pain assessment.
How Is This Training Presented Online?
You can take MDS training courses entirely or partially online. Online training is offered in several formats, including fully online courses through which you watch lectures and complete exams at your own pace. In other cases, you can participate in live webcasts as part of your training. Many organizations offer books, documents and videos that can be downloaded for review at your convenience.
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