The percentage of beds designated for medicaid in American nursing homes and nurse staffing ratios

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Previous analyses of the inverse relationship between a nursing home's Medicaid census and its quality of care have been based on samples limited to specific geographic regions, for-profit entities, or only skilled care facilities. The present study uses national-level data from the 1999 National Nursing Home Survey to examine the association between the proportion of beds designated for Medicaid residents and nurse staffing ratios. The results indicate that homes which designate a higher proportion of their beds for Medicaid recipients maintain lower ratios of registered nurses and nurse's aides to residents, even when key facility characteristics are controlled. It was also found that nursing homes with a higher proportion of Medicaid beds offer lower nursing ratios regardless of their profit status or the difference between private pay rates and Medicaid reimbursement rates. Since lower nursing ratios have been previously linked to negative outcomes, these findings suggest that homes which rely more heavily upon Medicaid recipients may be using cost-cutting strategies which have negative implications for quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Health and Social Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2007



  • Medicaid
  • Nursing homes
  • Staffing ratios

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