From the abstract:
Background and Objectives:
Nursing homes (NHs) in the United States face increasing pressures to admit Medicare postacute patients, given higher payments relative to Medicaid. Changes in the proportion of residents who are postacute may initiate shifts in care practices, resource allocations, and priorities. Our study sought to determine whether increases in Medicare short-stay census have an impact on quality of care for long-stay residents.
Research Design and Methods:
This study used panel data (2005–2010) from publicly-available sources (Nursing Home Compare, Area Health Resource File, LTCFocus.org) to examine the relationship between a 1-year change in NH Medicare census and 14 measures of long-stay quality among NHs that experienced a meaningful increase in Medicare census during the study period (N = 7,932). We conducted analyses on the overall sample and stratified by for- and nonprofit ownership.
Of the 14 long-stay quality measures examined, only one was shown to have a significant association with Medicare census: increased Medicare census was associated with improved performance on the proportion of residents with pressure ulcers. Stratified analyses showed increased Medicare census was associated with a significant decline in performance on 3 of 14 long-stay quality measures among nonprofit, but not for-profit, facilities.
Discussion and Implications:
Our findings suggest that most NHs that experience an increase in Medicare census maintain long-stay quality. However, this may be more difficult to do for some, particularly nonprofits. As pressure to focus on postacute care mount in the current payment innovation environment, our findings suggest that most NHs will be able to maintain stable quality.