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$20 Million to MU Sinclair Nursing School

The University of Missouri – Columbia announced the Sinclair School of Nursing received $19.8 million in research grant money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The money will help the school continue their research on senior care in nursing homes. They’re working on a national model on how to significantly lower national health care spending.

Launched in 2012, the program is a partnership between MU, CMS and state Medicaid programs, and now more than 30 nursing homes in the St. Louis area.

The program is led by Dr. Marilyn Rantz who says nursing homes struggle with funding and oftentimes make decisions for financial reasons rather than what is best for the patient.

“This disparity in payment, between what hospitals are paid and the significantly less amount nursing homes are paid, leads nursing homes to hospitalize residents who could have been cared for in the home,” Rantz says. “For example, a physician can bill CMS $203 for a resident hospitalized with pneumonia, but a nursing home can only bill $136. This inequity means that decisions about resident care can come down to money, not what is best for the patient.”

During this research project, CMS has agreed to pay the participating nursing homes the same they would pay the hospital for the patients treatment. The research team then studies if this increased payment is an incentive to try and treat the patient in the home, rather then sending them to the hospital.

In the first four years of the project, the rate of hospitalization was decreased by 34%.

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