Professor Vincent Mor: Time to rethink US nursing home landscape

[McKnight's]  Facilities that serve single types of skilled nursing patients—and a payment system that differentiates and reimburses accordingly—would improve care for seniors and benefit providers, according to a preeminent long-term care researcher.

“We may want to think about restructuring or rethinking the notion of separating post-acute care from residential, long-term care, at least in some instances,” said Vince Mor, professor of health services, policy and practice and the Florence Pirce Grant University Professor in the Brown University School of Public Health. 

That separation was commonplace before the 1980s, when long-term care providers began adding rehabilitation services to help attract Medicare patients. But Mor believes combining long-term and post-acute care services in large, shared settings may have run its course, a viewpoint he says is supported by research into COVID-19’s rapid spread in skilled nursing facilities.

Mor has spent his career studying long-term care policies and helping design federal standards for skilled care providers; during COVID-19, he led early efforts to understand factors that contributed to disease transmission and authored studies on vaccination efforts.

During the NASL 2021 Legislative & Regulatory Conference, he questioned whether the current long-term care model is sustainable given design weaknesses revealed by the pandemic. In addition to health implications, Mor cited lost revenues, state inaction on Medicaid funding and the risk of provider bankruptcies as reasons to reconsider how the government pays for care.

“The industry is in trouble,” he said. “It needs to be invested in.” READ MORE