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VOLUME 54 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2019


Assessing the impact of Minnesota's return to community initiative for newly admitted nursing home residents

Objective: To evaluate Minnesota's Return to Community Initiative's (RTCI) impact on community discharges from nursing homes.

Data Sources: Secondary data were from the Minimum Data Set and RTCI staff (April 2014 – December 2016). The sample consisted of 18 444 nonMedicaid nursing home admissions in Minnesota remaining for at least 45 days, with high predicted probability of community discharge.

Study Design: The RTCI facilitates community discharge for nonMedicaid nursing home residents by assisting with discharge planning, transitioning to the community, and postdischarge followup. A key evaluation question is how many of those transitions were directly attributable to the program. Return to Community Initiative was implemented statewide without a control group. Program impact was measured using regression discontinuity, a quasiexperimental design approach that leverages the programs targeting model.

Principal Findings: Return to Community Initiative increased community discharge rates by an estimated 11 percent (P < 0.05) for the targeted population. The program effect was robust to time and increased with level of facility participation in RTCI.

Conclusions: The RTCI had a modest yet significant impact on the community discharge rates for its targeted population. Findings have been applied in strengthening the RTCI's targeting approach and transitioning process.

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