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Staffing Data Submission PBJ

Please check the “What’s New” section at the bottom of this webpage periodically for updates on the latest activities.

CMS has long identified staffing as one of the vital components of a nursing home’s ability to provide quality care.  Over time, CMS has utilized staffing data for a myriad of purposes in an effort to more accurately and effectively gauge its impact on quality of care in nursing homes.  We also post staffing information on the CMS Nursing Home Compare website, and it is used in the Nursing Home Five Star Quality Rating System to help consumers understand the level and differences of staffing in nursing homes.  

Section 6106 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires facilities to electronically submit direct care staffing information (including agency and contract staff) based on payroll and other auditable data.  The data, when combined with census information, can then be used to not only report on the level of staff in each nursing home, but also to report on employee turnover and tenure, which can impact the quality of care delivered.

Therefore, CMS has developed a system for facilities to submit staffing and census information – Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ).  This system allows staffing and census information to be collected on a regular and more frequent basis than previously collected. It is also auditable to ensure accuracy.    All long term care facilities have access to this system at no cost to facilities.  Information on registration and training is available in the Downloads section of this page below.

The first mandatory reporting period began July 1, 2016. Submissions must be received by the end of the 45th calendar day (11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time) after the last day in each fiscal quarter in order to be considered timely.

Below are the deadlines for each reporting period:





October 1 –December 31

February 14


January 1 –March 31

May 15


April 1 –June 30

August 14


July 1 –September 30

November 14

This webpage provides information on how data is collected and who to contact for questions.  The information posted below is the first step in implementing section 6106 of the ACA and focuses on the type of data that is collected, and how the data is submitted to CMS.  Future steps will address activities such as how the data will be verified, how compliance will be enforced, and how the information will be publically reported (such as quality measures on the Nursing Home Compare website).  Information about these future steps will be communicated over the next several months.

Beginning November 1, 2017, CMS will post a public use file containing PBJ staffing data submitted by long term care facilities. The file includes the hours nursing staff are paid to work each day, for each facility. The categories of nursing staff include director of nursing, registered nurses with administrative duties, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses with administrative duties, licensed practical nurses, certified nurse aides, medication aides, and nurse aides in training. The file also includes a facility’s census for each day within the quarter as calculated using the minimum data set (MDS) submission. The PBJ public use file will be available at For more information, please see Survey and Certification memorandum SC 17-45.

PBJ Policy Information:

The following files contain policy information related to the PBJ and are now available under the Downloads section of this page:

  • PBJ Policy Manual – Provides general background and information about the submission requirements, such as sample submission screens, submission deadlines, and definitions of job categories.
  • PBJ Policy Manual Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • PBJ Summary Presentation

Changes made to the Policy Manual and FAQ document are indicated in red text.

Questions regarding the PBJ policy information should be directed to

PBJ Technical Information:

The following PBJ technical items are now available under the Downloads section of this page:

  • PBJ 3.0 Submission Specs for the November 20, 2017 Release
  • NHPBJ and PBJ XSD File
  • PBJ Excel to XML Template - Excel templates are available in the download section to convert valid PBJ Excel data to V2.00.1 and V2.00.3 XML format

The Data Submission specifications consist of the following technical information: 

    1.  PBJ data specs PDF files ZIP – Full data spec report and the unduplicated edits report, as well as the Overview document.
    2.  PBJ data dictionary ZIP – The Access database used to maintain the items and edits, as well as generate the reports.
    3.  PBJ data specs CSV files ZIP – Comma-separated value (CSV) files of the items and item values.
    4.  PBJ data specs HTML files ZIP – Set of HTML files that can be used to navigate the items and edits in a browser.

Questions regarding the PBJ Data Specifications should be directed to  Software developers or vendors that provide services such as automated payroll or time and attendance systems that will support electronic submissions should use this address.  In an effort to serve you better, we are offering voluntary vendor registration at This information will be used to contact you with important PBJ news, updates, and conference call information.

Please note that CMS may not provide an individualized response to each inquiry; however, CMS will address all applicable issues and comments through Open Door Forums, training sessions, vendor calls, or updates to the information provided on this page.

What's New -

December 7, 2017

The “PBJ Policy Manual (V2.5) 11-19-2018” and “PBJ Policy Manual FAQ 11-19-2018” have been updated to provide expanded guidance on the meal break policy and reporting hours for “Universal Care Workers”. Changes are indicated in red text. Please note these are not policy changes.  We are clarifying previously issued policy guidance based on questions and feedback received from providers. The documents can be found in the “Downloads” section below.

Two new CASPER reports are now available for providers to help ensure data is submitted accurately. The reports are:

1704S Daily MDS Census Summary Report:  Allows users to retrieve the daily MDS-based resident census (i.e., count of residents) for each day in a quarter.

1704D Daily MDS Census Detail Report: Allows users to retrieve a list of the residents that the MDS-based census is comprised of on a given date or dates.

More information on these reports can be found at:

November 2, 2017

The PBJ XSD Admin file V1.00.0 and PBJ Admin Excel to XML Template V1.00.0

A new PBJ XSD Admin file V1.00.0 is available in the download section below and should be used for linking employees. This XSD implements the addition of the PBJ Administration Submission File described in V3.00.00 of the PBJ Data Submission Specs and the “Linking Methodology” document located in the downloads section below.

The PBJ Admin Excel to XML Template V1.00.0 is available in the download section below and should be used for linking employees. This Excel template allows you to create an XML file for the PBJ Administration Submission File. Detailed instructions on how to use this template are provided on the instructions tab.

Please Note: The PBJ XSD file V2.00.3 and PBJ Excel to XML Template v.2.00.1 have NOT changed and should still be used for Employee, Staffing and Census Data.

September 27, 2017

The “PBJ Policy Manual (V2.4) 9-26-17” and “PBJ Policy Manual FAQ 9-26-17” have been updated to reflect changes to the submission guidelines. Changes are indicated in red text.

The documents can be found in the “Downloads” section below.

The PBJ 3.00.0 Data Submission Specifications

The PBJ Administration Submission File has been added to V3.00.00 of the PBJ Data Submission Specs and is now available in the download section below.  This file should be used if an Employee has changed Employee IDs within a facility. This file is used strictly to link or delink Employee ID information already present in the PBJ system.  An Employee ID can only be linked to one other Employee ID per XML file. For more information about the PBJ Administration Submission File please see “Linking Methodology” in the download section below.

An Excel template and XSD will be provided for the PBJ Administration Submission File.  These items will be available on November 20, 2017. 

The information listed below under the "Downloads" section is subject to change.  CMS will communicate any changes to these materials on this page, as well as through Open Door Forums hosted by CMS.