Background and Objectives: In October 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) stopped reimbursing hospitals for costs related to patient falls. This study aimed to examine whether the CMS no-pay policy influenced four fall prevention practices: bed alarms, sitters, room changes, and physical restraints.
Research Design and Methods: Using electronic medical record data collected from four hospitals between 2005 and 2010, this secondary observational analysis examined the associations between the CMS no-pay policy and nursing interventions and medical orders related to fall prevention. Multivariable generalized linear mixed models with logit link function and accommodation for matching was used to assess the associations between the CMS no-pay policy and nursing interventions and medical orders.
Results: After the CMS policy change, nurses were more likely to perform one or more fall-related interventions (adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 1.667; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.097-2.534). Of the four prevention practices, the use of bed alarms (aOR: 2.343; 95% CI: 1.409-3.897) increased significantly after the CMS policy change.
Discussion and Implications: The CMS no-pay policy increased utilization of fall prevention strategies despite little evidence that these measures prevent falls.