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Everything You Need to Know About MDS Coordinators

Table of Contents

What is an MDS Coordinator?

What does an MDS Coordinator do? Those in MDS coordinator jobs are ultimately responsible for adequately assessing nursing home residents’ needs, and coordinating personalized, resident-driven care based on those assessments.

MDS Coordinator Job Description

CWF_Leaderstat_Ganzhorn_1-2026 (2) (1)What does MDS stand for? The MDS (Minimum Data Set) is gathered via the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) process, which assesses a resident’s behavioral, psychological, clinical, nutritional, and physical strengths and needs to create an individualized cared plan that considers the resident holistically. The MDS Coordinator, also known as a MDS Nurse, then works with nursing, PT, nutrition, etc., to ensure care plan guidelines for each resident are followed, and compliant with ethical standards and Medicare requirements.

MDS is also the key driver for Medicare payment and many Medicaid reimbursement systems, and is especially critical for long-term care providers. Care payment level categories, or Resource Utilization Groups (RUGs) are determined by MDS assessments. Small adjustments in the case mix score can result in a significant increase (or decrease) in revenue for which the facility is entitled. MDS Coordinators are responsible for setting RUG levels for each resident and ensuring the facility is getting accurate, and maximum, reimbursement.

MDS Coordinator Requirements

rawpixel-559737-unsplashThose in MDS Coordinator jobs must be Registered Nurses (RNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) that have received on-the-job training, or completed an MDS-training program. Candidates must be familiar with MDS 3.0, and have an in-depth working knowledge of the RAI user manual and RUG categories.

Attention to detail is a must as there are dozens of RUG categories. Even small inaccuracies can result in significant reimbursement deficits.

MDS Coordinator training is extremely important and candidates must have knowledge of current state, federal, and CMS regulations, and be able to relate professionally, positively, and cooperatively with staff, residents and family members.


MDS Coordinator Salary Range

The mean annual salary for a MDS Coordinator can range depending on geographic location as well as size of the senior living community. On average, the annual salary can range from $46,000 - $81,000, however MDS Coordinators with advanced certifications, and/or ten years or more of experience could expect to earn a higher amount annually.


MDS Coordinator Additional Certifications

AANAC’s Resident Assessment Coordinator-Certified (RAC-CT®) certification is the distinguishing characteristic of an expert in resident assessment. AANAC’s RAC-CT program has long set the national standard for skilled nursing facility MDS education.

 LeaderStat conducts certification workshops throughout the year and across the country that cover:

  • MDS Coding for OBRA and PPS
  • RUG IV
  • OBRA Timing and Scheduling
  • Care Area Assessments
  • PPS Timing and Scheduling
  • Introduction to Medicare Part A
  • Care Planning
  • Accurately Assessing Functional Status
  • Five-Star Quality Rating System
  • and Quality Measures.

RAC-CT MDS Certification

Resident Assessment Coordinator–Certified Program

The Resident Assessment Coordinator—Certified (RAC-CT) education and certification program has long set the national standard for skilled nursing facility PPS and MDS 3.0 education. Constantly reviewed and updated by a team of experts, the RAC-CT program ensures your knowledge of clinical assessment and care planning, completion of the MDS, and the regulatory body surrounding the RAI/MDS process. 

  • Navigate tough coding dilemmas with the most current coding and regulatory knowledge 
  • Recover reimbursement and avoid overpayment by knowing where to find important MDS data 
  • Proactively solve quality pitfalls by recognizing the clues reflected in your Quality Measure and Five Star reports 
  • Uncover unique solutions that honor resident preference by synthesizing MDS, CAA, and care plan data into individualized interventions 
  • Earn respect in your facility by proving that you are dedicated, capable, and knowledgeable 
  • Gain confidence that will enable you to take a leadership role in resident care 

Download AANAC's RAC-CT Candidate Workbook Here



Job Hunter Resources

For those looking to advance your career in the MDS Coordinator field or if you are interested in starting an MDS Coordinator career path, AANAC offers education for those just starting out. Our recruiters can be an invaluable resource to help you find the right MDS Coordinator position.

Open MDS Coordinator Jobs

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