A new study focused on Medicare patient readmissions finds that hospitals with high nursing staff levels had a 25% lower chance of being penalized than hospitals with lower nurse-staffing ratios. The higher-nurse staffed hospitals also had a 41% lower chance of receiving the maximum penalty for readmissions. The study, published in this month’s Health Affairs, looked at nursing staff levels and readmission a data from 2,826 hospitals; researchers estimated that each additional nurse hour per patient brought 10% lower odds of receiving penalties from the Hospital Readmissions Program, the federal program initiated last year to reduce Medicare spending on preventable readmissions.
Nurses are responsible for many activities which may reduce admissions including coordinating care, overseeing care in the hospital, planning a patient’s hospital discharge, and educating patients and their families about follow up care.
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