Author(s): Karuza J, Katz PR
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Abstract BACKGROUND: To determine, post-OBRA 1987, medical organization in nursing facilities (ie, medical director and staff profile, closing of medical staff, use of physician contract); structural correlates of medical organization; and links between medical organization, especially closed staffing, and medical care. METHOD: Mail survey of New York state nursing facility administrators (63\% response). Survey consisted of open and closed end items that focused on facility and staff demographics, medical organization, and markers of medical care delivery, ie, physicians' daily presence, average response time to emergency calls, cross coverage for acute conditions and emergencies, attendance at care conferences, and offering of in-services. RESULTS: On average, facilities had 8.6 attending physicians, 32 residents per physician, 70\% of residents cared for by non-staff physicians, no daily physician presence (60\%), and no cross coverage. Most medical directors were from family (42\%) or internal (55\%) medicine, had a tenure of 7.5 years, did not have a certificate of added qualification in geriatrics (73\%), and attended residents (66\%). Forty-three percent of facilities had closed medical staffs, and 12\% had physician contracts. Closed staffs were more likely in facilities that were larger, had more Medicaid residents, used physician extenders, and had more residents per nurse. Facilities with closed medical staffs had fewer physicians more residents per physician, and reported medical care practice patterns that would be associated with quality of care. These effects were independent of nursing and facility characteristics. Physician contract was unrelated to care. CONCLUSIONS: Medical organization and practice patterns emerge as important factors in considerations of nursing home quality. Results argue that, as in acute settings, limiting practice privileges in nursing homes may be a useful organizational strategy to improve quality of care.
This article was published in J Am Geriatr Soc
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research