Nursing homes have a staff turnover crisis – even before COVID-19

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Nursing homes are challenging places to work. As David Grabowski, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, notes in today's episode of A Health Podyssey, "we knew the nursing home system was broken before the COVID-19 pandemic."

Grabowski recently co-authored two papers in the March 2021 edition of Health Affairs on the topic of nursing home staffing using a new Medicare data set (Payroll Based Journal) that spanned 2017-2019 and is a game changer for measuring quality. One article noted that Medicare's new patient-driven payment model resulted in reductions in therapy staffing in skilled nursing facilities. A second found that mean annual nursing staff turnover rate was an eye-popping 128 percent.

Post-pandemic, the implications of a nursing home's high staffing turnover rate is clear: it could lead to health and safety risks for residents.

David Grabowski joins Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil on today's episode to discuss his research, its implications, and why nursing home staff relationships with residents matter. He also delves into the complex ownership structures and the need for greater transparency and accountability in nursing homes.

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