Milking the System

A 65% jump in superfluous care for nursing home residents could indicate that facilities are wringing reimbursement opportunities from dying patients’ Medicare programs.

A 2012-2016 study of New York nursing homes tracked increased “ultrahigh intensity” rehabilitation—like physical and occupational therapy—for dying patients. “There’s a possibility that nursing homes know a patient is approaching end of life, but the financial pressures are so high that they use these treatments so they can maximize revenue,” says University of Rochester study author Helena Temkin-Greener. Practices like these could be curbed by 2019 policy changes to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


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