Increased nurse staff levels tied to lower odds of Medicare readmissions penalties, study says

( Nursing unions wanting higher staffing ratios have more ammunition thanks to a new study concluding that increasing nurse staffing levels could help hospitals avoid Medicare penalties for avoidable readmissions.

The study covered readmissions of Medicare patients who suffered heart attacks, heart failure or pneumonia. It appears in the October issue of Health Affairs. [Read more…]

Improving nurses’ work environments could lead to lower readmissions

(HealthcareFinanceNews) A study published in a recent issue of Medical Care found that increased nurse-to-patient staffing ratios and good work environments for nurses were tied to lower 30-day readmission rates for Medicare patients suffering from heart failure, myocardial infarction and pneumonia.

The research team analyzed data from a cross-sectional survey of registered nurses in California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania about hospital work environment, nurse staffing levels and educational attainment. The team also used data on hospitals’ structural characteristics from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey, and data on admissions and readmissions from state discharge abstract databases.  [Read more…]

Few hospitals meet standards for reducing readmissions

(Pittsburgh Post Gazette) Historically, a patient who has to be readmitted has meant more revenue for a hospital, since it would receive payment for each stay. Under provisions of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, however, hospitals now are penalized if their readmission rate is too high.

Grove City Medical Center has been doing a better job than most at preventing those return trips to the emergency room. [Read more…]

Study: Nurse phone calls reduce risk of readmission

( Weekly telephone contact with a nurse substantially reduced hospital readmissions for high-risk patients, according to a study.
In addition, healthcare costs decreased by about $1,225 for each patient enrolled in the program compared with similar patients who were not enrolled, reported researchers with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The study measured the efficacy of Coordinated Transitional Care, a program used by 605 patients discharged over an 18-month period from the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wis. [Read more…]