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Comparing Post-Acute Populations and Care in Veterans Affairs and Community Nursing Homes.

Intrator O, O'Hanlon CE, Makineni R, Scott WJ, Saliba D. Comparing Post-Acute Populations and Care in Veterans Affairs and Community Nursing Homes. Journal of The American Medical Directors Association. 2021 Dec 1; 22(12):2425-2431.e7.

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OBJECTIVE: The quality of care provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is increasingly being compared to community providers. The objective of this study was to compare the VA Community Living Centers (CLCs) to nursing homes in the community (NHs) in terms of characteristics of their post-acute populations and performance on 3 claims-based ("short-stay") quality measures. DESIGN: Observational, cross-sectional. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: CLC and NH residents admitted from hospitals during July 2015-June 2016. METHODS: CLC residents were compared with 3 NH populations: males, Veterans, and all NH residents. CLC and NH performance was compared on risk-adjusted claims-based measures: unplanned rehospitalizations and emergency department visits within 30 days of CLC or NH admission and successful discharge to the community within 100 days of NH admission. RESULTS: Veterans admitted from hospitals to CLCs (n  = 23,839 Veterans/135 CLCs) were less physically impaired, less likely to have anxiety, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and dementia than Veterans (n  = 241,177/14,818 NHs), males (n  = 661,872/15,280 NHs), and all residents (n  = 1,674,578/15,395 NHs) admitted to NHs from hospitals. Emergency department and successful discharge risk-adjusted rates of CLCs were statistically significantly better than those of NHs [mean (standard deviation): 8.3% (4.6%) and 67.7% (11.5%) in CLCs vs 11.9% (5.3%) and 57.0% (10.5%) in NHs, respectively]. CLCs had slightly worse rehospitalization rates [22.5% (6.2%) in CLCs vs 21.1% (5.9%) in NHs], but lower combined emergency department and rehospitalization rates [30.8% (0.8%) in CLCs vs 33.0% (0.7%) in NHs]. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: CLCs and NHs serve different post-acute care populations. Using the same risk-adjusted NH quality metrics, CLCs provided better post-acute care than community NHs.

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