Does Public Reporting of Staffing Ratios and Nursing Home Compare Ratings Matter?

J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021 Nov;22(11):2373-2377. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2021.03.011. Epub 2021 Apr 13.


Objective: Public reporting is a policy to improve quality and increase data transparency. The objective was to examine the association between publicly available staffing ratios and the Five-Star Quality Ratings from Nursing Home Compare over time.

Design: Panel data analysis.

Setting and participants: About 146 nursing homes with complete quarterly data in New Jersey between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2019.

Methods: Using data from the State of New Jersey Department of Health and Nursing Home Compare, staff-to-resident ratios were trended for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants by shift and over time. Panel data analysis was used to test the association between the ratios and the ratings.

Results: Compared to 2012, staffing ratios improved slightly for licensed practical nurses but not for registered nurses or certified nursing assistants in 2019 (P < .001). The number of residents assigned doubled at night for all personnel. During the day and evening shifts, registered nurse staffing was significantly associated with the Nursing Home Compare staffing rating (P < .01) but not the overall rating.

Conclusions and implications: Decreasing the number of residents assigned to a registered nurse in NHs results in an increase in staffing ratings. Mandatory public reporting holds nursing homes accountable for quality outcomes but does not improve staffing ratios. Quality resident care is the cumulative result of multiple measures inclusive of staffing; therefore, administrators should continue to focus on improving quality in NHs, which may improve staffing ratios across shifts.

Keywords: Reporting; nursing homes; staffing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nursing Assistants*
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Workforce