CMS Clarifies Payroll-Based Journal “Hours Entered” Concerns

February 14, 2017 Tom Jegou

In the latest version of the CMS’s Payroll-Based Journal Policy Manual, the CMS included a new section clarifying how hours should be entered in the PBJ website and PBJ Upload files.

Unfortunately, this clarification created more questions for our Long Term Care clients than answers.

PBJ v2.2 Policy Manual
PBJ v2.2 Policy Manual

In the CMS example, they seem to imply that hours should be rounded to the tenth of an hour.

The Support Team at SmartLinx almost immediately began receiving questions from users about the updated Policy Manual:

“Does this mean we need to round our hours to 1/10 of an hour?”

“What if we currently round our entries to 1/100 of an hour?”

Another client posed a question regarding this scenario, “we round time and labor entries in 15 minute intervals for processing timecards and payroll, are we expected to change our time and labor and payroll calculations to accommodate rounding to the tenth of an hour instead of a quarter of an hour?”

The SmartLinx Product Team reached out to the CMS Nursing Home Staffing help desk for a clarification.

Good news – the CMS clarified this statement further and let us know that upcoming versions of the CMS’s PBJ Policy Manual will be updated to include this more in-depth and clearer clarification.

The CMS’s intent was to provide an example of how hours should be treated in terms of PBJ entries.

This clarification was not intended to imply that all hours must be rounded to 1/10th of an hour.

Here is the response we received:

"From: CMS Nursing Home PBJ Tech Issues 


You can report to the nearest 100th or 10th for both manual and XML.

Sorry for the confusion, updated documentation will be added to the manuals. 

Client’s payroll systems are not required to change.

Thank you,

Nursing Home PBJ Tech Issues Team”

We at SmartLinx hope this helps alleviate any concerns caused by the initial CMS messaging.

Should you have further questions for the CMS on this or any other topic, you can contact the CMS Helpdesk at the following email addresses

CMS Nursing Home PBJ Tech Issues:

CMS Nursing Home Staffing:

Learn more about our Payroll-Based Journal Solutions.

About the Author

Tom Jegou

As Compliance Expert at SmartLinx, Tom Jegou oversees SmartLinx innovations in our payroll and compliance systems. Tom is focused on transforming client needs into leading-edge products. Tom leads cross-functional teams from a product's conception through to its launch. Tom led the design of the 1095-C and Payroll-Based Journal reporting features in the WorkLinx<sup style="font-size: 60%;">TM</sup> suite. Since 1996, Tom has worked with every aspect of Human Capital Management Systems. He has defined, supported, implemented and managed Payroll, Time and Labor and HR systems. Tom is a Certified Payroll Professional through American Payroll Association.

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