National Study of Nursing Homes

National Study of Nursing Homes

With the population of the United States aging rapidly, it’s more important than ever that we devise a systematic way of analyzing nursing homes, says Brant Fries, an innovator in the assessment of nursing home residents. Otherwise, there’s no guarantee that the elderly and disabled will receive high-quality care.

Fries hopes a new federal study he’s been asked to direct will lead to better-quality care in nursing homes around the country. The study, known as the Staff Time and Resource Intensity Verification Project, or STRIVE, is the first nationwide time study for nursing homes conducted in the U.S. since 1997.

Initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the project will collect information about residents, including health status, medical conditions, services received, and facility resources used to provide care. The ultimate aim of the study is to update the payment system for federally funded Medicare skilled-nursing facilities and to provide states with the data they’ll need to evaluate and update their own similar Medicaid payment systems.

A professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health, a research professor in the University of Michigan Institute of Gerontology, and the chief of health systems research at the Ann Arbor VA’s Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Fries originated the concept of Resource Utilization Groups, a case-mix classification system for nursing homes. The latest version of that system is now used for Medicaid payments in over half of all states and was adopted in 1998 by CMS for the national Medicare Prospective Payment System.

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