Type of insurance may be a factor in nursing home survival rates after a stay in the ICU

Type of insurance may be a factor in nursing home survival rates after a stay in the ICU


A study by Yoland Philpotts, M.D., from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons has found that nursing home residents on Medicaid fare worse than those on private insurance when it comes to survival rates.

The Medicaid patients were more likely to die in the year in which they were released from the intensive care unit of a hospital and transitioned into a nursing home for care. The findings were even starker when it came to patients who had been in the ICU for a critical illness. Overall, Medicaid patients had a shockingly 15% higher risk of dying than their privately insured counterparts.

Other factors were ruled out, including co-existing health conditions, age, race, household income, and the type of hospital that the patients had been admitted to. After each factor was examined and considered, the only truly defining factor that stood out in the data, when it came to the increased risk of death, was Medicaid.

The research was conducted using information from over 300,000 cases in the state of New York. All the cases were of older adults above the age of 65. Philpotts discussed his findings at a recent American Thoracic Society International Conference. He believes further research is needed to determine why Medicaid is such a large factor in mortality and survival rates.


What does this mean when it comes to choosing a nursing home? Until Philpotts can provide us with a deeper analysis as to why the phenomenon is occurring, it is reasonable to be extra cautious when looking for a nursing home to accept Medicaid. If you can afford to, consider looking into purchasing supplementary or replacement insurance other than Medicaid. In addition to providing a statistically higher survival rate, private insurance may also open doors to nursing homes that need to limit the number of Medicaid residents they can accept. This could potentially lead to faster acceptance into a facility and a reduced amount of pressure to explore less attractive or more geographically distant nursing homes.

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Leo G. Anderson

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