Medicaid Payment Rates, Case-Mix Reimbursement, and Nursing Home Staffing – 1996–2004

Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.
Medical Care (Impact Factor: 3.23). 02/2008; 46(1):33-40. DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e3181484197
Source: PubMed


We examined the impact of state Medicaid payment rates and case-mix reimbursement on direct care staffing levels in US nursing homes.
We used a recent time series of national nursing home data from the Online Survey Certification and Reporting system for 1996-2004, merged with annual state Medicaid payment rates and case-mix reimbursement information. A 5-category response measure of total staffing levels was defined according to expert recommended thresholds, and examined in a multinomial logistic regression model. Facility fixed-effects models were estimated separately for Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) staffing levels measured as average hours per resident day.
Higher Medicaid payment rates were associated with increases in total staffing levels to meet a higher recommended threshold. However, these gains in overall staffing were accompanied by a reduction of RN staffing and an increase in both LPN and CNA staffing levels. Under case-mix reimbursement, the likelihood of nursing homes achieving higher recommended staffing thresholds decreased, as did levels of professional staffing. Independent of the effects of state, market, and facility characteristics, there was a significant downward trend in RN staffing and an upward trend in both LPN and CNA staffing.
Although overall staffing may increase in response to more generous Medicaid reimbursement, it may not translate into improvements in the skill mix of staff. Adjusting for reimbursement levels and resident acuity, total staffing has not increased after the implementation of case-mix reimbursement.

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    ABSTRACT: Numerous studies have identified disparities in nursing home quality of care. Although previous studies have found the overlap among Medicaid census, nursing home characteristics, and negative quality of care outcomes, few studies have examined how the psychosocial well-being of nursing home residents is associated with Medicaid census and other nursing home characteristics. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the intertwined relationships between Medicaid census and other important nursing home factors and its impact on psychosocial care for residents. This study examined the interactive effects of (1) nursing home ownership status and Medicaid census, (2) staffing level and Medicaid census, and (3) resident ethnic mix and Medicaid census on psychosocial well-being outcomes. The sample, derived from a combined data set of New York State nursing homes' Online Survey Certification and Reporting System and Minimum Data Set, included 565 nursing homes in rural and urban areas of the state. Medicaid census had no main effect on psychosocial well-being outcomes of nursing home care but had a significant interactive effect with other nursing home characteristics. High Medicaid census was associated with lower level of psychosocial symptom detection in nonprofit nursing homes and nursing homes with a higher proportion of ethnic minority residents. Nursing staff training on better psychosocial well-being care, in particular, better psychosocial assessment, is important. To obtain the training resources, nursing homes with high Medicaid census can collaborate with other nursing homes or social service agencies. Considering that nursing homes with a high proportion of ethnic minority residents have lower level of detection rate for psychosocial well-being issues, culturally competent care should be a component of quality improvement plans.
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