Geriatric Nurse Practitioners in Long-Term Care: Demonstration of Effectiveness in Managed Care

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study was undertaken to review the impact of utilizing geriatric nurse practitioner/physician (GNP/MD) teams on cost and utilization for a cohort of Medicare HMO enrollees residing in long-term care facilities. The results would be used by the organization for further development of the GNP Program.

DESIGN:

A 1-year retrospective data analysis on revenues and cost for 1077 HMO enrollees residing in 45 long term-care facilities.

SETTING:

Proprietary and not-for-profit, licensed long term care facilities in the HMO's service area of central Massachusetts. Facilities in the study had both skilled (Medicare-certified) and custodial beds.

MEASUREMENTS:

Data were collected retrospectively on overall cost, revenues, emergency department (ED) transfers, hospital, and subacute days.

RESULTS:

Of 1077 residents, 414 were cared for by GNP/MD teams compared with 663 by physicians alone. Acute care and ED costs were significantly lower for the GNP/MD-covered patients. There was a gain of $72 per resident per month(PRPM) with the GNP/MD-covered patients compared with a loss of $197 PRPM for physicians alone. There were no significant differences in ancillary services or prescriptions.

CONCLUSION:

The use of GNPs in collaboration with physicians reduced ED and acute care utilization costs as well as overall costs for a cohort of HMO enrollees in long-term care. This encouraged the HMO to support the concept that all long-term care HMO residents should be covered by GNP/MD teams.

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