Provider PBJ Resources

For skilled nursing providers, get access to CMS’ PBJ tools and key publications

What PBJ Resources does CMS provide for SNFs?

In various websites, CMS provides detailed instructions and user guides for skilled nursing providers to learn how to report Payroll-Based Journal data.  These key resources include:

  • Payroll-Based Journal hub including policy updates and the most recent PBJ Policy Manual
  • A web based PBJ data submission software tool for direct data input
  • Submission data specifications for providers who upload PBJ data in XML files
  • CASPER reporting software to verify and analyze the data contained in CMS’ national reporting database once submitting by skilled nursing facilities through the PBJ system
  • User access and registration protocols to gain privileges to the CMS systems used for payroll-based journal reporting

Also useful for nursing home providers to review are the:

  • State Operations Manual and training containing staffing-related deficiencies which can be cited by state surveyors (inspectors).  More recently these surveyors receive PBJ reports to support their inspection activities
  • Five Star Quality Rating system specifications and cut-point tables to classify nursing homes into their staffing and overall Five Star ratings tiers
  • PBJ Policy Manuals and FAQs
  • CMS’ QSO Memorandums for State Survey Agencies

PBJ System Setup, Registration & Operations

Review these core payroll-based journal instructional sites from CMS to manage PBJ compliance.  Read the CMS provided information to set up users, structure PBJ data, submit reports and review CASPER reports.

Staffing Data Submission Payroll Based Journal site

The PBJ “hub” where participants access updates and downloads for the payroll-based journal program. Get the latest downloads for these files:

  • PBJ Policy Manual
  • PBJ Policy Manual FAQ
  • PBJ submission data specifications
  • and more

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CASPER Reporting User's Guide For PBJ Providers

The CASPER Reporting application is CMS’ electronic National Reporting Database. Chapter 12 of the CASPER User’s Guide is specifically for PBJ Reports.

CASPER reports are to be used by providers to ensure their quarterly PBJ reports are submitted and accurate, as well as to obtain data used in the staffing Five Star calculation by CMS.

PBJ last modified June, 2021

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PBJ Data Entry System - User Guide & Technical Specs

The PBJ User Guide covers all functionality within the Payroll Based Journal (PBJ) System as well as information regarding how to access the system via the CMSNet Secure Access Service.

Users can learn how to:

  • use the PBJ data entry system
  • understand error messages
  • view a record of changes
  • get technical data specifications

Updated April 2020

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New PBJ User Registration - CMSNet

All providers must request a CMSNet User ID to access secure CMS sites

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Recorded PBJ Systems Training Sessions

Access over a dozen Payroll Based Journal (PBJ) recorded training sessions including:

  • CMSNet User ID registration
  • Installing Juniper software
  • QIES User ID registration
  • PBJ XML submission process
  • Login and facility verification
  • Entering employee, staffing and census data
  • Retrieving and understanding the Final Validation Report
  • Understanding CASPER reports

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Five Star Ratings, Survey and F-Tags

Payroll-based Journal staffing data is used for compliance and enforcement outcomes by CMS. Staffing Five Star ratings are calculated using PBJ data.  Several F-Tags may be issued during Survey for staffing violations.  And increasingly staffing levels reported in PBJ may be used to trigger a survey inspection visit.

Five-Star Quality Rating System

The Five-Star Quality Rating System helps consumers, their families, and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily.  This CMS site provides access to the current standards, rating tiers and updates to the Five Star system.  For PBJ staffing, key files available include:

  • Five Star Technical Users Guide
  • Five Star QRS cut point tables

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Time Study (STRIVE)

The Staff Time and Resource Intensity Verification (STRIVE) Project collected staff time and resident clinical information to determine resources needed to care for residents.

Strive data is used when calculated the PBJ-based Staffing Five Star rating.  Strive data is the basis for the Case Mix Hours per Resident Day.

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State Operations Manual

CMS issued a major update to surveyor guidance to strengthen the implementation of the already-in-effect Phases 2 and 3 of the 2016 Reform of Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities. The update provides new guidance to surveyors to use PBJ staffing data to identify concerns in:

F725 – Sufficent Nursing Staff
F727 – RN 8 Hours/7 Days/Week, Full-Time Director of Nursing (DON)
F851 – Payroll-Based Journal (failure to submit PBJ report now a deficiency)

Updated February 03, 2023

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Surveyor Training on Using PBJ Data

Surveyor training enhances the understanding of how staffing and PBJ data is used during survey.

In the training, CMS provides details guidance for the procedure and probes to be used by surveyors, along with examples of how to categorize deficiencies based on levels of severity.

See also this 30 minute video training

Updated June 2022

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Publicly Available Payroll-Based Journal Data

CMS prepares and publishes staffing data on nursing homes based on the payroll-based journal reports submitted by skilled nursing facilities.  Summary metrics like Five Star ratings and Hours Per Resident Day (HPRD) are posted to Care Compare, while researchers can download public data sets to do their own analysis.

Care Compare (for consumers)

Find & compare nursing homes, hospitals & providers near you

Find information about providers and facilities based on your individual needs
Get helpful resources to choose your health care providers
Make more informed decisions about where you get your health care

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Public Use Files of Payroll-Based Journal Data

Information on Payroll-Based Journal staffing submitted by long term care facilities.

Data are presented as one row per work day, for each facility. Datasets include the number of hours that each individual staff member worked, on each day in the quarter.

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Pro Publica Nursing Home Inspect

Use this database to compare nursing homes based on the deficiencies cited by regulators and the penalties imposed in the past three years. This database will allow you to: search nearly 80,000 nursing home inspection reports to look for trends or patterns; evaluate nursing homes near you; and find nursing homes that have been cited for deficiencies in infection control.

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USA Today's Nursing Home Ratings and COVID Rates

USA TODAY compiled data filed by more than 15,000 homes and, for the first time, published indicators of how each performed in a five-month surge of COVID infections and deaths starting October 2020. This tool also shows ratings that correspond to federal recommended staffing. See how they fared during COVID’s winter surge, 2020-21

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