Healthcare News & Insights

Low nurse staffing may cost your facility millions of dollars

The nurse shortage may be affecting your bottom line in more ways than one. In this guest post, Brian Hudson, senior VP of a staffing company that specializes in the international recruitment of healthcare professionals, explains how inadequate nurse staffing may be adversely affecting your readmission rates and what you can do about it.


Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), hospitals with excessive readmission rates may not be reimbursed for up to 3% of their readmission costs. This penalty causes a significant loss of revenue. For 2017, study by the University of Pennsylvania, hospitals that staff for manageable nurse workloads have lower readmission rates. The study matched 2,826 hospitals based on the number of hospital beds. The study compared HRRP penalties between the 1,413 well-staffed hospitals and the 1,413 similar hospitals with lower staffing levels.

The study concluded that closely matched hospitals based on the same patient population characteristics, still differ in HRRP penalties due to the level of registered nurse staffing. The 1,413 hospitals with low nurse staffing were significantly more likely to receive an HRRP penalty compared to the 1,413 well-staffed hospitals.

The debt incurred by emergency department readmissions far outweighs the cost of increasing nurse staffing levels. According to Georgetown University found these same states also have the highest number of job openings for nurses.

Cut down on readmission

To help cut down on costly readmission penalties, it vital for hospitals to be properly staffed. This can be difficult based on the nurse shortage affecting the U.S. Innovative solutions need to be presented, including government officials’ influence to increase the nation nurse supply. Policy makers also may be able to gain traction on readmissions and their attendant costs through policy that creates a care environment sufficiently staffed and resourced to allow healthcare providers to do their work most effectively, states the

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