A study published in Health Affairs finds that hospitals with higher nurse-to-patient ratios are less likely to be penalized for excessive readmissions under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) of the Affordable Care Act. HRRP penalizes hospitals that have excessive 30-day readmissions for Medicare patients admitted for heart attacks, heart failure or pneumonia, it is anticipated to reduce hospital payments by roughly $280 million in fiscal year 2013.
Matthew McHugh, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar lead the research team. He and his colleagues noted that nurses are primarily responsible for a wide range of activities that can reduce readmissions, including care coordination and oversight, discharge planning, and patient education. When nurses have adequate time to complete those activities, readmissions rates are lower.
Read the news release about this study here.