Skilled Nursing Facilities: Available Data Show Average Nursing Staff Time Changed Little after Medicare Payment Increase

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The nation's 15,000 skilled nursing facilities (SNF) play an essential role in our health care system, providing Medicare-covered skilled nursing and rehabilitative care each year for 1.4 million Medicare patients who have recently been discharged from acute care hospitals. In recent years, many analysts and other observers, including members of Congress, have expressed concern about the level of nursing staff in SNFs and the impact of inadequate staffing on the quality of care. GAO's analysis of available data shows that, in the aggregate, SNFs' nurse staffing ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. November 13, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The nation's 15,000 skilled nursing facilities (SNF) play an essential role in our health care system, providing Medicare-covered skilled nursing and rehabilitative care each year for 1.4 million Medicare patients who have recently been discharged from acute care hospitals. In recent years, many analysts and other observers, including members of Congress, have expressed concern about the level of nursing staff in SNFs and the impact of inadequate staffing on the quality of care. GAO's analysis of available data shows that, in the aggregate, SNFs' nurse staffing ratios changed little after the increase in the nursing component of the Medicare payment took effect. Overall, SNFs' average nursing time increased by 1.9 minutes per patient day, relative to their average in 2000 of about 3 and one-half hours of nursing time per patient day. For most SNFs, increases in staffing ratios were small. Further, GAO found that the share of SNF patients covered by Medicare was not a factor in whether facilities increased their nursing time. Similarly, SNFs that had a total revenues considerably in excess of costs before the added payments took effect did not increase their staffing substantially more than others."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • November 13, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Skilled Nursing Facilities: Available Data Show Average Nursing Staff Time Changed Little after Medicare Payment Increase, report, November 13, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc292979/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.