Reducing hospital re-admissions is one of the chief cost-cutting tactics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Hospitals that have excessive 30-day readmissions for Medicare patients admitted for heart-related illness or pneumonia will face reduced payments from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
A new study conducted by Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, FAAN at University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, concludes that facilities with lower staffing ratios have lower odds of being penalized for excessive readmissions under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), the group responsible under the ACA to reduce readmission rates. Hospitals with higher nurse staffing had 25% lower penalization rates than similar hospitals with less nurse staffing. They also have 41% lower odds of receiving the maximum penalty for readmissions.
Notably, the research also finds that each additional nurse hour per patient day is associated with 10% lower odds of HRRP penalties.
Nurses at Niskayuna's Bellevue Women's Center presented a petition to Ellis Hospital management requesting recognition of our union. Almost every single nurse at Bellevue signed the petition.
Many Bellevue nurses are specially trained to care for newborns or mothers who have delivered by C-section. Management is re-assigning these skilled nurses to care for other kinds of patients – without the appropriate level of training or orientation, say nurses. Here's what two of those RNs had to say today:
"We are very concerned that the changes management has made could compromise care for our patients – new mothers, women, and babies," said Christine Walthers, RN in post-partum. "We need a say in patient care decisions in our hospital. That's why we are joining the New York State Nurses Association."
"I see nurses being forced to take on 10 patients at once. That is too many," said Vickie Decker, RN for 24 years at Bellevue. "We're on the front lines of the changes in healthcare. We're looking forward to sitting down with Ellis Hospital management to discuss how we can work together to improve care for our patients."