J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021 Feb 22:S1525-8610(21)00228-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2021.02.014. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has disproportionately impacted nursing homes (NHs) with large shares of Black residents. We examined the associations between the proportion of Black residents in NHs and COVID-19 infections and deaths, accounting for structural bias (operationalized as county-level factors) and stratifying by urbanicity/rurality.
DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional observational cohort study using publicly available data from the LTCfocus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Long-Term Care Facility COVID-19 Module, and the NYTimes county-level COVID-19 database. Four multivariable linear regression models omitting and including facility characteristics, COVID-19 burden, and county-level fixed effects were estimated.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: In total, 11,587 US NHs that reported data on COVID-19 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and had data in LTCfocus and NYTimes from January 20, 2020 through July 19, 2020.
MEASURES: Proportion of Black residents in NHs (exposure); COVID-19 infections and deaths (main outcomes).
RESULTS: The proportion of Black residents in NHs were as follows: none= 3639 (31.4%), <20% = 1020 (8.8%), 20%-49.9% = 1586 (13.7%), ≥50 = 681 (5.9%), not reported = 4661 (40.2%). NHs with any Black residents showed significantly more COVID-19 infections and deaths than NHs with no Black residents. There were 13.6 percentage points more infections and 3.5 percentage points more deaths in NHs with ≥50% Black residents than in NHs with no Black residents (P < .001). Although facility characteristics explained some of the differences found in multivariable analyses, county-level factors and rurality explained more of the differences.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: It is likely that attributes of place, such as resources, services, and providers, important to equitable care and health outcomes are not readily available to counties where NHs have greater proportions of Black residents. Structural bias may underlie these inequities. It is imperative that support be provided to NHs that serve greater proportions of Black residents while considering the rurality of the NH setting.