The effect of competition on nursing home expenditures under prospective reimbursement

J. A. Nyman

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42 Scopus citations


The for-profit nursing home's incentive to minimize costs has been maligned as a major cause of the quality problems that have traditionally plagued the nursing home care industry. Yet, profit-maximizing firms in other industries are able to produce products of adequate quality. In most other industries, however, firms are constrained from reducing costs to the point where quality suffers by the threat of losing business to competing firms. In the nursing home industry, competition for patients often does not exist because of the shortage of nursing home beds. As a result, one would expect that nursing homes located in areas where there is excess demand would spend less on patient care than homes located where the bed supply is relatively abundant. This hypothesis is tested using Wisconsin data from 1983. It is found that, in counties with relatively tight bed supplies, an additional empty bed in all the homes in the county will force each home to increase expenditures by $.62 per day for each patient in the home. Overall, the average nursing home located in underbedded markets would spend $5.12 more per patient day or about $240,000 more annually (in 1983 dollars) if it were located in a market where it was forced to compete for patients. The implications for public policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-574
Number of pages20
JournalHealth Services Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


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