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The Impact of Green House Adoption on Medicare Spending and Utilization

Keywords: Nursing homes; Medicare spending; Green House nursing home; culture change.

Objective: To evaluate the impact of the Green House (GH) model of nursing home care on Medicare acute hospital, other hospital, skilled nursing facility, and hospice spending and utilization.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Medicare claims and enrollment data from 2005 through 2010 merged with resident-level minimum data set (MDS) assessments.

Study Design: Using a difference-in-differences framework, we compared Medicare Part A and hospice expenditures and utilization in 15 nursing homes that adopted the GH model relative to changes over the same time period in 223 matched nonadopting nursing homes. We applied the same method for residents of GH homes and for residents of “legacy” homes, the original nursing homes that stay open alongside the GH home(s).

Principal Findings: The adoption of GH had no detectable impact on Medicare Part A (plus hospice) spending and utilization across all residents living in the nursing home. When we analyzed residents living in GH homes and legacy units separately, however, we found that the adoption of the GH model reduced overall annual Medicare Part A spending by $7,746 per resident, although this appeared to be partially offset by an increase in spending in legacy homes.

Conclusions: To the extent that the GH model reduces Medicare spending, adopting nursing homes do not receive any of the related Medicare savings under traditional payment mechanisms. New approaches that are currently being developed and piloted, which better align financial incentives for providers and payers, could incentivize greater adoption of the GH model.

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