Publicizing quality information has been used as a quality improvement strategy in the acute care sector for more than a decade. Despite research showing mixed results of these efforts, publicly reporting quality measures is currently being pursued as a quality improvement strategy for nursing homes. Designed to empower consumers to make informed choices and to stimulate provider competition on quality, nursing home public reporting began in 1998 with the Nursing Home Compare Web site and has received greater emphasis in the 2002 Nursing Home Quality Initiative, both directed by the federal government. Focusing on the response of three key stakeholder groups across settings of care—consumers, providers, and purchasers—I identify several challenges that nursing home reporting must overcome to be successful. I conclude that publicly reporting quality measures for nursing homes will have a harder time promoting quality improvement than for acute care settings, where results have been disappointing thus far. In addition to the conceptual analysis, I evaluate whether the quality information reported on Nursing Home Compare had any impact on nursing home occupancy rates following its release. Using a pre/post-release design, I find that the effect of public reporting on nursing home occupancy rates has been minimal thus far. Although some estimates of effect are statistically significant and in the hypothesized direction, they all suggest very small effect sizes. It is unclear whether the absence of a larger reporting effect to date is specific to Nursing Home Compare or whether it inheres to the broader task of using quality information to promote change in the nursing home care sector.
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David G. Stevenson; Is a Public Reporting Approach Appropriate for Nursing Home Care?. J Health Polit Policy Law 1 August 2006; 31 (4): 773–810. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-2006-003
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