Nursing homes in Washington state that rely primarily on Medicaid funds provide lower-quality care compared with privately funded nursing homes, according to a study released last week by the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reports. For the study, researchers analyzed Medicaid enrollment and patient care data for 246 nursing homes in the state, which provided care for about 60,000 people last year. The study found that residents of nursing homes with the greatest number of Medicaid beneficiaries received on average a half-hour less of direct care daily and nearly $11 less per day in expenditures, compared with residents in homes that have more private-pay residents. Researchers found that about 4.4% of patients in homes with lower numbers of Medicaid beneficiaries spent most of their time in a bed or chair, compared with about 6.5% of patients who lived in homes with higher numbers of Medicaid beneficiaries. The study also found that 11% of patients in homes with low Medicaid enrollment have had bedsores, compared with more than 12% of patients who live in homes with higher Medicaid enrollment. The study authors said they plan to lobby Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) and the state Legislature to gain equal funding for all nursing homes in the state. A spokesperson for the governor on Tuesday said staff members have received the study but have not yet examined it (Aleccia, Spokane Spokesman-Review, 12/13).

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