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Gerontologist. 2004 Feb;44(1):13-23.

Nursing home staffing and quality under the nursing home reform act.

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Department of Health Services Administration, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.



We examine whether the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) improved nursing home staffing and quality.


Data from 5,092 nursing homes were linked across the 1987 Medicare/Medicaid Automated Certification System and the 1993 Online Survey, Certification and Reporting system. A dummy-year model was used to examine the effects of the NHRA on pressure ulcers, physical restraints, and urinary catheters, and a first-difference approach to fixed-effects regression analyses was used to estimate the effects of time-varying staffing on the quality of care.


Overall, we found a significant increase in nursing home staffing levels from 1987 to 1993. Moreover, after controlling for other facility, resident, market, and state factors, there was a significant decrease in the proportion of residents with pressure ulcers, physical restraints, and urinary catheters following the implementation of the NHRA. Across all facilities, the increase in staffing was not directly related to the improvement in quality over the period of our study, but there was a positive relationship between registered nurse staffing and quality for facilities that were particularly deficient prior to the NHRA.


Following the NHRA, quality improvements were found in nursing homes nationwide, and these results suggest that part of this improvement was due to the quality and staffing regulations within the NHRA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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