An MDS nurse, or Minimum Data Set nurse, performs federally mandated clinical assessments of all residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities that are Medicare or Medicaid certified. MDS nurses are typically registered nurses who have completed the MDS certification program, but can also be licensed practical nurses and nurse practitioners.
The assessments performed by MDS nurses measure the function and capabilities of patients and residents, as well as help to identify health problems. Information is also gathered by MDS nurses to evaluate the mental state of patients. Medical charts are reviewed by MDS nurses, in collaboration with the patients' health care teams, to comprise plans of rehabilitation and medical care. MDS nurses are also responsible for keeping records of the pricing and effectiveness of treatment that patients and residents receive.
In order to maintain the stability of new patients and residents, MDS nurses conduct intake assessments. These assessments, known as Rapid Assessment Processes or RAPS, help to expedite the process of treating known issues upon arrival. Assessments are also made by MDS nurses to ensure that facilities are in compliance with Medicare and Medicaid practices, claims and standards. On occasion, an MDS nurse may need to act as a liaison between insurance companies and facility management.