Complying with the Affordable Care Act’s Payroll-Based Journal



Because many long-term care facilities in the U.S. were found to offer a low quality of care, it is now mandatory for all of these facilities to electronically submit their staffing data in the form of payroll-based journal or PBJ reports. In this post, we outline what information needs to be included to ensure compliance.

Why Is the Reporting of Payroll-Based Journal Data Required?

PBJ reporting is necessary for several reasons. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) use the data reported by facilities to rate each one according to the quality of care it provides. This not only offers a layer of transparency but allows individuals who are entering long-term care or their loved ones to more easily compare facilities.

The CMS rates each facility based on grades given for quality measures, staffing, and health inspections.

What Are the PBJ Requirements for Reporting?

Information must be submitted to the CMS once per quarter. Long-term care facilities that include continuing care retirement communities, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living programs are all required to submit this information.

The information submitted will detail how many hours the staff in a facility have worked under their specific job title.

Who Qualifies as “Staff”?

“Staff” refers both to those individuals identified as providing direct care to the residents of the facility and to others who have managed patient care or have direct contact with patients, such as occupational therapists. In addition, hours logged by staff members who provide care at a facility, and who were hired from outside the facility via contract or agency, must also be included in PBJ reports.

Payroll Data That Must Be Included in Reports

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In addition to the number of hours worked by staff at a long-term care facility, the report must also include other details about their time worked, including:

  • The dates on which they worked
  • Number of hours worked on each respective date
  • Proper job title under hours worked

One of the CMS’s 40 job title codes must also be assigned to each hour that a staff member has worked. Individuals working at one or more job titles must be reported under those respective job titles, and their hours divided for accurate reporting.  Breaks must be deducted from a staff member’s hours each day, but not reported.

How Must Data Be Submitted?

In addition to payroll-based journal reporting requirements, there are also rules surrounding how data must be submitted to CMS. Data can be entered manually into a PBJ system or submitted from a time and attendance or automated payroll system. Both can take many hours to enter and verify, but there is a solution that helps facilities streamline this administrative process.

Custom payroll services and cloud-based software from SNF help to ensure CMS compliance while allowing employees to enter their own data, drastically reducing the time needed for data entry. We take the time to understand your needs to create solutions that combine organization with analytics. To learn more, call 844-200-1870.