University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


Geographic Variation of Statin Use Among US Nursing Home Residents With Life-limiting Illness

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences; Clinical and Population Health Research Program, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Division of Biostatistics and Health Services Research, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Epidemiology | Geriatrics | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research


BACKGROUND: Medically compromised nursing home residents continue to be prescribed statins, despite questionable benefits.

OBJECTIVE: To describe regional variation in statin use among residents with life-limiting illness.

RESEARCH DESIGN: Cross-sectional study using 2016 Minimum Data Set 3.0 assessments linked to Medicare administrative data and health service utilization area resource files.

SETTING: Nursing homes (n=14,147) within hospital referral regions (n=306) across the United States.

SUBJECTS: Long-stay residents (aged 65 y and older) with life-limiting illness (eg, serious illness, palliative care, or prognosis < 6 mo to live) (n=361,170).

MEASURES: Prevalent statin use was determined by Medicare Part D claims. Stratified by age (65-75, 76 y or older), multilevel logistic models provided odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS: Statin use was prevalent (age 65-75 y: 46.0%, 76 y or more: 31.6%). For both age groups, nearly all resident-level variables evaluated were associated with any and high-intensity statin use and 3 facility-level variables (ie, higher proportions of Black residents, skilled nursing care provided, and average number of medications per resident) were associated with increased odds of statin use. Although in residents aged 65-75 years, no associations were observed, residents aged 76 years or older located in hospital referral regions (HRRs) with the highest health care utilization had higher odds of statin use than those in nursing homes in HRRs with the lowest health care utilization.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest extensive geographic variation in US statin prescribing across HRRs, especially for those aged 76 years or older. This variation may reflect clinical uncertainty given the largely absent guidelines for statin use in nursing home residents.


statins, pharmacoepidemiology, geographic variation, long-term care, nursing homes

DOI of Published Version



Mack DS, Baek J, Tjia J, Lapane KL. Geographic Variation of Statin Use Among US Nursing Home Residents With Life-limiting Illness. Med Care. 2021 May 1;59(5):425-436. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001505. PMID: 33560713. Link to article on publisher's site

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Link to Article in PubMed

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Medical care

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