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How TimeClock Plus Helps with Healthcare Payroll-Based Journaling

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A woman interacting with a holographic data display to improve healthcare payroll based journaling
Managing a healthcare operation requires compliance with several federal and state laws, including the requirement to submit quarterly payroll-based journal (PBJ) reports to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Whether you’re new to your role or have been responsible for payroll-based journaling for a while, you probably know how time-consuming it can be to pull specific time and attendance and payroll data for each PBJ report. However, you don’t have to rely on spreadsheets and manual calculations to get it done. TCP's TimeClock Plus Software offers an easy-to-use tool to help you save time and simplify payroll-based journaling for your healthcare organization.

The Importance of Healthcare Payroll-Based Journaling


To increase transparency and improve the quality of patient care in long-term care facilities, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires healthcare organizations to provide detailed information about their employees and the time they spend caring for patients. To comply with the ACA, nursing homes, inpatient mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers and chronic care hospitals must conduct payroll-based journaling in alignment with CMS quarterly reporting guidelines.

The goal of healthcare payroll-based journaling is simple. By collecting tenure and time-tracking data for employees working in long-term care facilities, CMS can use the data to assign quality ratings for each facility on a five-star scale. Consumers can view facility ratings via the CMS Nursing Home Compare site and access more information when deciding where to go for care.

To position your healthcare organization to earn a higher rating, you need to collect and submit the most accurate data about your organization. The PBJ information you need to collect and submit to CMS includes:

  • Resident census data
  • Employee tenure data (e.g., hire and termination dates)
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) job classifications for each employee
  • Job codes for employees and contractors responsible for providing direct patient care and the hours they worked during the quarter

Key Challenges of Payroll-Based Journaling
Although the intent of payroll-based journaling is straightforward, it can be confusing once you dive into gathering and submitting data. Accuracy is also a concern because you need to submit information according to a specific format. Any inaccuracies can lead to CMS audit penalties that can damage your organization’s reputation.

Manually gathering the data required for payroll-based journaling can take a lot of time, especially because you need to do it every quarter. There are also nuances in CMS reporting requirements that can be difficult to navigate if you rely on paper and spreadsheets to make complex calculations.

Consider the following CMS policy guidelines that can make payroll-based journaling difficult to complete:

  • Reporting exceptions: CMS requires you to report on employees and contractors who provide direct patient care in your organization. However, you can exclude some individuals, including physicians that bill Medicare directly and employees that have no responsibility for patient care.
  • Matching job codes: When submitting PBJ reporting, it’s not possible to create job categories. Instead, you need to match your employees and contractors to one of 40 CMS job title codes. In addition, employees who perform more than one role on a given day must be recorded under the job code corresponding to the hours worked in each role.
  • Categorizing employee work hours: When categorizing employee work hours for PBJ reporting, you can’t lump together all hours. For example, you must exclude meal breaks and unpaid work hours.
  • Reporting overnight shifts: When reporting employee working hours per day, you must split the hours worked in an overnight shift between two days. This can be a significant undertaking, especially if you manage a 24/7 patient care operation and have just as many employees working night shifts as day shifts.


  • How TimeClock Plus Simplifies Healthcare Payroll and Time-Tracking for PBJ Reporting


    Simplifying your payroll-based journaling can help you meet your quarterly reporting requirement and increase your rating on the CMS five-star scale. Not only does a higher rating speak to your organization’s staffing and quality of service, but it can also position your organization as a healthcare provider of choice.

    To help you navigate the complexities of CMS reporting requirements, TimeClock Plus offers a solution to translate employee payroll and time-tracking data into headache-free PBJ reporting. Using tools that automate data collection in compliance with CMS requirements, you can create accurate quarterly PBJ reports and gain control over your workforce management data.

    Here are the key highlights of the TCP PBJ tool:

    Automated Calculations and Reporting
    A key highlight of the TimeClock Plus PBJ module is its ability to help you automate the data collection and reporting process for payroll-based journaling. Instead of manually pulling employee data (e.g., FLSA classifications, start dates, and working hours) from your payroll and time and attendance systems, you can use TimeClock Plus’ integration capability to pull that information into a PBJ report every quarter. You don’t have to waste time manually calculating the hours employees spend on patient care. Rather, you can create rules in the system to collect only the information you need. In a matter of clicks, you can generate a quarterly PBJ report that meets CMS requirements.

    Simplified Job Coding
    TimeClock Plus makes it easy to match your employees to CMS job title codes so that the process doesn’t feel like inventing the wheel every quarter. When Century Care Management—a nine-facility healthcare services and rehabilitation organization—implemented the our payroll-based journaling solution, matching employees to CMS job codes was instantly simpler. As Century Care’s HR and payroll manager explained, “It is technically demanding to set up 900 employees with different job codes and export that data into CMS. Exporting in [TimeClock Plus] is so easy and so simple to use.”

    Support for Continued Compliance
    CMS payroll-based journaling requirements can be daunting for healthcare organizations of any size. But with the help of TimeClock Plus’ PBJ tools, you can maintain compliance, regardless of the size of your workforce. Century Care Management found that the PBJ tool helped them navigate compliance requirements across all nine of their facilities. And when they needed support, the TCP Professional Services team and Customer Support Representatives were there to help. As Century’s payroll manager noted, “Every time I call them, it is a positive result [and] I can show them exactly what I am talking about.”

    Achieve Pain-Free Payroll-Based Journaling


    Harnessing the power of employee data and analytics is essential to your ability to manage a productive and high-performing workforce. One of the ways you can gather and report on workforce data more effectively is to use the right solutions to help you create accurate PBJ reports. By leveraging technology to automate your quarterly PBJ reporting, you can maintain a strong compliance record and save precious time for other essential activities.

    Compliance with CMS requirements is one of many compliance requirements applicable to your healthcare organization. But managing a heavy compliance burden doesn’t mean you need to be bogged down by paperwork and complex manual calculations. With the help of workforce management technology that simplifies employee time tracking, payroll, scheduling and more, you can stay in compliance and manage your workforce more efficiently. To learn more about our TimeClock Plus software tools for healthcare organizations—including software tools to simplify payroll-based journaling—schedule a demo today.
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