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Keywords:

  • nursing homes;
  • nurse staffing;
  • regulation

Abstract

This article investigates how a change in minimum nurse staffing regulation for California skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) affects nurse employment and how induced changes in nurse staffing affect patient mortality. In 2000, legislation increased the minimum nurse staffing standard and altered the calculation of nurse staffing, which created incentives to shift employment to lower skilled nurse labor. SNFs constrained by the new regulation increase absolute and relative hours worked by the lowest skilled type of nurse. Using this regulation change to instrument for measured nurse staffing levels, it is determined that increases in nurse staffing reduce on-site SNF patient mortality. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.