Higher Nurse Staffing Levels Associated with Lower Penalties for Readmissions

October 9, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Hospitals with higher levels of nurse staffing were 25% less likely to be penalized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program than those with lower staffing levels, reports a study published in the October 2013 issue of Health Affairs. The researchers compared penalty data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program supplemental data file for fiscal year 2013 with nurse staffing data from the 2009 American Hospital Association Annual Survey, limiting the sample to hospitals that handled at least 25 cases of heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, or pneumonia between July 2008 and June 2011. Approximately 63% of the included hospitals received a penalty, but by less than the maximum allowable amount.

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