Association of Receipt of Paycheck Protection Program Loans With Staffing Patterns Among US Nursing Homes

Jasmine L. Travers, Brian E. McGarry, Steven Friedman, Louisa W. Holaday, Joseph S. Ross, Leo Lopez, Kevin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: Staffing shortages in nursing homes (NHs) threaten the quality of resident care, and the COVID-19 pandemic magnified critical staffing shortages within NHs. During the pandemic, the US Congress enacted the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a forgivable loan program that required eligible recipients to appropriate 60% to 75% of the loan toward staffing to qualify for loan forgiveness. Objective: To evaluate characteristics of PPP loan recipient NHs vs nonloan recipient NHs and whether there were changes in staffing hours at NHs that received a loan compared with those that did not. Design, Setting, and Participants: This economic evaluation used national data on US nursing homes that were aggregated from the Small Business Administration, Nursing Home Compare, LTCFocus, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Payroll Based Journal, the Minimum Data Set, the Area Deprivation Index, the Healthcare Cost Report Information System, and the US Department of Agriculture Rural-Urban Continuum Codes from January 1 to December 23, 2020. Exposure: Paycheck Protection Program loan receipt status. Main Outcome and Measures: Staffing variables included registered nurse, licensed practical nurse (LPN), and certified nursing assistant (CNA) total hours per week. Staffing hours were examined on a weekly basis before and after loan receipt during the study period. An event-study approach was used to estimate the staffing total weekly hours at NHs that received PPP loans compared with NHs that did not receive a PPP loan. Results: Among 6008 US NHs, 1807 (30.1%) received a PPP loan and 4201 (69.9%) did not. The median loan amount was $664349 (IQR, $407000-$1058300). Loan recipients were less likely to be part of a chain (733 [40.6%] vs 2592 [61.7%]) and more likely to be for profit (1342 [74.3%] vs 2877 [68.5%]), be located in nonurban settings (159 [8.8%] vs 183 [4.4%]), have a greater proportion of Medicaid-funded residents (mean [SD], 60.92% [21.58%] vs 56.78% [25.57%]), and have lower staffing quality ratings (mean [SD], 2.88 [1.20] vs 3.03 [1.22]) and overall quality star ratings (mean [SD], 3.08 [1.44] vs 3.22 [1.44]) (P <.001 for all). Twelve weeks after PPP loan receipt, NHs that received a PPP loan experienced a mean difference of 26.19 more CNA hours per week (95% CI, 14.50-37.87 hours per week) and a mean difference of 6.67 more LPN hours per week (95% CI, 1.21-12.12 hours per week) compared with nursing homes that did not receive a PPP loan. No associations were found between PPP loan receipt and weekly RN staffing hours (12 weeks: mean difference, 1.99 hours per week; 95% CI, -2.38 to 6.36 hours per week). Conclusions and Relevance: In this economic evaluation, a forgivable loan program that required funding to be appropriated toward staffing was associated with a significant increase in CNA and LPN staffing hours among NH PPP loan recipients. Because the PPP loans are temporary, federal and state entities may need to institute sufficient and sustainable support to mitigate NH staffing shortages..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2326122
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 27 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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