Long-Term Care Facility Automates ACA Compliance
Colonial Manor Has Confidence in New ACA-Required Reports
Colonial Manor, a skilled nursing and assisted living facility in Columbus Junction, Iowa, has been a TMS customer for more than a decade. In January 2016, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandated that all Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities must submit quarterly Payroll-Based Journals (PBJ) reports beginning in July. PBJ reports must be specified in a midnight-to-midnight calendar day format regardless of skilled nursing care shifts. This creates problems for LTC facilities which are 24-hour operations with shifts that cross over midnight to the next day.
Colonial Manor proactively looked for and found a solution in the new PBJ feature of their existing time tracking software, TMS Attendance Enterprise. The PBJ feature automatically formats the necessary data in the correct midnight-to-midnight format without changing the way Colonial Manor tracks employee time or calculates its payroll.
Labor management software transforms a full day’s work into a 90-minute task.
Colonial Manor decided to automate their timekeeping with a labor management system in 2006. Before this time, Colonial Manor tracked employee punches manually. The task of ensuring proper wages by hand was time consuming and took an entire 8-hour day each pay period. And once the paperwork was complete, they still had to mail it to an outside accounting firm for the paychecks to be cut and distributed. The process was cumbersome, error-prone, and ready for an upgrade.
“TMS Attendance shortened our payroll process from an 8-hour day to a 90-minute task every two weeks, and there is no daily work.”
They brought in the TMS team in Sioux City, Iowa, who configured a system that could automate punches, time tracking, and calculations. With the new system in place, employee punching errors are now visible in one easy report. The manager can review the error report and verify corrections with the employee before any changes are made to an employee time card. When all pay period information is accounted for, the manager simply exports the payroll file, and it automatically uploads to their accounting firm.
“TMS Attendance shortened our payroll process from an 8-hour day to a 90-minute task every two weeks, and there is no daily work,” said Molly Bausch, Business Office Manager of Colonial Manor. “We have been very happy with Attendance Enterprise and TMS.”
TMS reporting simplifies Affordable Care Act compliance and payroll-based journaling.
The Challenges of ACA Compliance
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) poses many challenges for organizations, especially LTC facilities. Employers must eventually offer full-time employees health insurance or face severe financial penalties. Determining an employee’s full-time status and benefit eligibility on an ongoing basis requires an understanding of the ACA lookback method and measurement periods. TMS Attendance Enterprise offers Colonial Manor a simple, at-a-glance report using a tool called VisualACA, for evaluating full-time, part-time, and variable hour workers. It provides Guidance values to help maintain the employee’s hours at the desired status by Colonial Manor.
One component of the ACA is PBJ reports. Starting July 1, 2016, all LTC facilities are required to report daily staffing and other census information through the online PBJ system to the CMS every fiscal quarter. This information includes job title, services done, hours worked, and other parameters. CMS also requires hours to be reported by calendar day, or from midnight to midnight. This causes shifts to be broken apart if they cross the day divide for PBJ purposes. Reporting shifts in this way, poses a challenge for most LTC facilities as they do not track employee shifts in this fashion.
Implementing PBJ Feature
In late January 2016, their accounting firm, Brighton Consulting Group, alerted Colonial Manor of the need to submit PBJ reporting in July. Colonial Manor knew they needed a solution to help manage not only the information required but also to keep track of employee time—down to the minute—at the skilled nursing facility.
Time Management Systems and Brighton Consulting Group had worked together with other LTC facilities and encouraged Colonial Manor to take a proactive approach to finding a solution. They found a great solution in the new features of their existing TMS Attendance system.
“You have that confidence that it is doing what it’s supposed to. It has eliminated, I don’t even know how many man hours.”
“If I would have had to figure [the PBJ reporting] out it would have been an absolute nightmare. I don’t know how I would have gone about doing that,” said Bausch. “TMS Attendance automatically does that for us and puts it in a format where you see what you are sending. You have that confidence that it is doing what it’s supposed to. It has eliminated, I don’t even know how many man hours.”
TMS Attendance tracks employee data each day and divides the shifts appropriately to fit into the PBJ scheduling format. This is incredibly helpful for Colonial Manor as they are an around-the-clock establishment and have shifts that cross the day divide. Colonial Manor also uses TMS Attendance to report the hours of their nursing staff. Some of their nurses can perform multiple duties at different facilities. TMS tracks the movement between different jobs and different facilities right down to the minute.
To help with transfers, Colonial Manor uses two time clocks. When a nurse enters the nursing home facility, they initiate a transfer by swiping their badge and entering a code to specify the job they are performing. This keeps track of the hours they must report to CMS separate from other work activity. The employee can transfer back to the other facility by using the time clock in the same manner.
Once the data is compiled, TMS Attendance presents the PBJ report for the manager to view before sending it to CMS. The reports show a breakdown of each employee’s shifts from midnight to midnight as well as all the pertinent employee data.
“[The PBJ process] has been a lot more review because of the transfers,” said Bausch. “Our payroll was down to an hour and a half but has easily grown to a 4-hour process with the review of all of the transfers. But if I had to do all of those edits by hand, and then double check my work, you’re talking a full day again.”
“PBJ has added a lot more work, but TMS has made it easy and has minimized what we have to do to make payroll happen.”
In addition, the staff at Colonial Manor quickly adopted the new time tracking methods. They have a high level of confidence that they see validated by accurate and timely paychecks. Colonial Manor management is happy because in addition to a streamlined PBJ reporting process, the full-time employee status information required for ACA matches their payroll report from Brighton Consulting Group giving them additional peace of mind about ACA compliance.
“So PBJ has added a lot more work, but TMS has made it easy and has minimized what we have to do to make payroll happen,” said Bausch.
About Colonial Manor
Colonial Manors of Columbus Community, Inc. began serving the community in 1975 with the opening of Colonial Manor nursing home. In an effort to provide another needed service to the community, the Colonial Heights independent living duplex units were made available in 1998. Colonial Estates, opened in 2010, is the latest addition to Colonial Manors of Columbus Community, Inc. family. Colonial Estates is the first assisted living facility in Louisa County – just one more way to provide for the community.