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Understanding Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) Reporting Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities

Understanding Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) Reporting Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities

April 13, 2023

Long-term care facilities are responsible for maintaining accurate and transparent staffing information to ensure quality patient care. One of the methods for achieving this is through the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) system. In this blog post, we will explain the importance of PBJ in improving transparency and accuracy of staffing information, provide an overview of PBJ, when it's due, common issues, recent updates, and the F-Tag associated with PBJ reporting.

What is PBJ?

PBJ is a system implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to collect staffing and census information from long-term care facilities. It was first introduced in 2016 as a part of the Affordable Care Act. The PBJ system requires facilities to report staff hours for each employee by job category and shift, census data, and employee turnover and tenure.

The data collected through PBJ calculates staffing levels and is reported publicly on the CMS Nursing Home Compare website. This information can help families and consumers make informed decisions about long-term care facilities based on staffing levels and quality of care.

When is PBJ Due?

Now that we've covered what PBJ is and why it's important let's discuss the submission timeline and due dates for PBJ data. Long-term care facilities are required to submit PBJ data quarterly, with specific reporting periods and due dates.

The fiscal quarter reporting periods and due dates are as follows:

  • October 1 – December 31: Due February 14
  • January 1 – March 31: Due May 15
  • April 1 – June 30: Due August 14
  • July 1 – September 30: Due November 14

It is crucial for long-term care facilities to comply with these reporting deadlines, as failure to do so can result in penalties and fines. Non-compliance with PBJ reporting requirements can also lead to potential deficiencies in the F-Tags associated with PBJ, which we will discuss in more detail later in this post.

Meeting PBJ submission deadlines is essential not only for compliance purposes but also for accurate tracking of nurse staffing levels. Timely and precise PBJ data submission ensures facilities meet nurse staffing requirements and provide quality patient care.

At SMK Medical, we understand the importance of meeting PBJ submission deadlines and ensuring compliance with reporting requirements. We can assist long-term care facilities in properly capturing and coding PBJ data to avoid compliance issues and ensure quality patient care.

Common Issues with PBJ

Despite the importance of PBJ reporting, there are several common errors and issues that can arise. This section will provide an overview of these issues and offer tips for avoiding errors and improving PBJ reporting accuracy.

  • One common issue with PBJ reporting is inaccurate coding of staff positions. Ensuring that staff positions are coded correctly is crucial, as this affects the accuracy of the reported staffing levels.
  • Another common issue is incomplete or missing data. Facilities must ensure that all required data is reported for each staff member and each reporting period.

To avoid these issues, it is essential to have a solid understanding of PBJ reporting requirements and a system for accurately capturing and coding PBJ data. Staff members responsible for PBJ reporting should receive proper training and ongoing support to ensure accuracy and compliance.

In addition to these tips, resources are available for troubleshooting PBJ reporting issues. CMS offers a PBJ help desk for facilities to contact with questions or concerns and a PBJ Policy Manual and frequently asked questions (FAQs) on their website. Additionally, partnering with an experienced healthcare consulting firm like SMK Medical can provide facilities with the expertise and support necessary to ensure proper capture and coding of PBJ data and compliance with F-Tag 851.

What's New with PBJ?

In recent years, there have been several updates and changes to PBJ reporting requirements. Long-term care facilities need to stay up-to-date on these changes to ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties.

One recent update is the expansion of PBJ reporting requirements to include additional staff categories, such as therapy and contract staff. Facilities must now report data for these staff categories and the previously required nursing staff data.

Another recent change is the implementation of a new PBJ Quality Measure, which measures the number of days with no registered nurse onsite for eight or more consecutive hours. This measure is used in the Five-Star Quality Rating System and can impact a facility's overall rating.

There may be further developments in PBJ reporting requirements and related F-Tags. Staying informed about these potential changes is vital for long-term care facilities to maintain compliance and provide quality patient care.

F-Tag Associated with PBJ

As previously mentioned, there are several F-Tags associated with PBJ reporting. F-Tag 851 is one of the most important F-Tags related to PBJ and pertains to staffing data and reporting. F-Tag 851 requires facilities to maintain accurate records and submit accurate staffing information, including PBJ data, to the CMS. Failure to comply with F-Tag 851 can result in citations, fines, and other penalties.

To ensure compliance with F-Tag 851 and avoid potential deficiencies, facilities must ensure that their PBJ data is accurate and up-to-date. This includes:

  • Regularly reviewing and updating staffing records.
  • Monitoring compliance with PBJ reporting requirements.
  • Addressing any errors or issues promptly.

As stated, facilities can benefit from utilizing resources and tools available to assist with PBJ reporting and compliance with F-Tag 851. CMS provides various resources on its website, including user manuals, technical specifications, and frequently asked questions.


In conclusion, Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) reporting is crucial to ensuring transparency and accuracy in staffing information in long-term care facilities. By accurately reporting staffing data, facilities can ensure compliance with nurse staffing requirements, avoid potential deficiencies, and ultimately provide high-quality patient care.

Facilities must stay aware of the reporting deadlines, ensure accurate and timely submission of PBJ data, and comply with F-Tag 851 requirements to avoid potential penalties and citations. By utilizing available resources and partnering with experienced healthcare consulting firms like SMK Medical, facilities can improve PBJ reporting accuracy and compliance and ultimately provide better patient care.

Facilities must prioritize compliance with PBJ reporting requirements and F-Tag 851 to avoid adverse outcomes for their residents and their bottom line. With the right tools and support, facilities can navigate PBJ reporting requirements and ensure they provide high-quality care to their residents.

If you need assistance with PBJ reporting or F-Tag 851 compliance, contact SMK Medical today to learn how we can help.

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