News | March 8, 2017

N.J. Nursing Homes Increase Quality While Improving Efficiency

Better ratings, more permanent staff and shorter lengths-of-stay in N.J.

Princeton, NJ /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - New Jersey's nursing homes deliver care that far exceeds the national average in quality of care, while serving a high number of residents who are economically disadvantaged and who are facing increasingly complex healthcare needs.

This assessment comes from the New Jersey Nursing Home Profile, released today by the New Jersey Hospital Association.

Nearly 60 percent of New Jersey's 358 skilled nursing facilities received a four- or five-star rating for quality from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, compared with 46.3 percent nationally. This is an increase from last year, when roughly half received high marks. New Jersey also has a much smaller proportion of low-rated facilities, with only 7.5 percent receiving a one-star rating compared to 16.4 percent nationally.

"New Jersey's nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities provide so much of the care required by the elderly and most vulnerable in our communities. The work they do in quality improvement, innovation and compassion reverberates throughout the state," said Betsy Ryan, president and CEO of NJHA. "All while adapting to changes in the healthcare landscape and providing steady employment for thousands of Garden State residents."

The Nursing Home Profile is created using publicly available data to provide a comprehensive view of the economic contributions and quality results of the state's nursing homes. Financial information was compiled from the 2015 Medicare cost reports, and quality information was collected from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) Nursing Home Compare website for the end of 2016.

This quality care provision comes as dynamic changes are occurring in the healthcare arena; with a rapidly aging population, there is increasing pressure to provide care as efficiently as possible.

New Jersey's nursing facilities increased the number of beds available to patients from 54,785 to 55,326, but average length-of-stay and average daily census have decreased since last year's initial report, from 110 to 106 days and 47,034 to 46,900, respectively, indicating that patients are getting treated more efficiently and returning home more quickly. This is happening despite an increase in the percentage of patients whose stays are categorized as requiring an intensive level of rehabilitation and complex clinical care – from 80 percent to 85 percent.

"The jobs growth in most employment categories is also a reflection of the higher number of complex cases and the increased activity around discharge planning, quality measurement and care coordination efforts." said Theresa Edelstein, vice president of post-acute care policy and special initiatives for NJHA. "We're maintaining a very high level of quality even as the dynamics surrounding nursing homes are changing dramatically."

Other findings include:

  • More than half of New Jersey's nursing home residents are financially assisted by Medicaid, which pays providers 17 percent less than cost, resulting in a $350 million shortfall between cost of care and reimbursement.
  • Nursing homes contributed $5.6 billion to the New Jersey economy in 2015 through expenditures, employee salaries and taxes.
  • Facilities employ 55,395 full time-equivalent employees, which is a slight decrease, but contract labor has decreased while permanent employment in most roles has increased. Total employee payroll reached nearly $2.2 billion.

The report in its entirety can be found at: http://www.njha.com/2017nursinghomes.

The New Jersey Hospital Association, based in Princeton, is a nonprofit trade association representing hospitals, health systems and post-acute care providers across the state. NJHA partners with its members to help them provide quality, affordable and accessible healthcare to their communities.

SOURCE: New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)

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