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

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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.


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


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.


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


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.


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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