Controlling Costs While Improving Patient Care

Controlling Costs While Improving Patient CareJuly 23, 2015 by Vickie Anenberg

Hospitals nationwide are now feeling the impact of value-based reimbursement, meaningful use, and other initiatives such as gradually increasing regulations and statutes requiring nurse-patient staffing ratios. In an attempt to control costs, many facilities have chosen staff reduction, particularly experienced nurses and support personnel, to maintain their financial health. However, there are numerous indications that reducing clinical staff has a negative effect on morale, quality care, patient safety and HCAHPS ratings.

Cross Country Staffing has posted a series of articles over the past four months that focus on the need to implement more comprehensive staffing policies designed to cost-effectively maintain proper staffing levels on a long-term basis. Two of these articles, “New Series to Provide CEOs with Leadership Insights,” and “Leapfrog Group Releases New Nursing Workforce Report,” provide insight to ways to better control costs other than staff reduction, and “nursing workforce safe practices.” Both of these articles, and related topics, are available for review by clicking here.

The series on leadership insights has recently been undertaken by The Advisory Board Company. The first is titled, “5 Things CEOs Need to Know about Nurses.” In it, the Advisory Board states that roughly 85 percent of cost savings in a hospital environment can be derived not by staff reductions, but by changes to “outdated care protocols, supply waste, and unfavorable contract terms.”

One interesting action numerous facilities have taken to improve efficiency and promote quality care is to implement an electronic patient acuity system. Such systems are relatively low-cost and provide a short return on investment. Those vendors offering the most functionality provide benchmarking that enables each facility to compare their results against all others who have installed the system, and also feature the capability to determine patient complexity of care needs. Using complexity of care data empowers nursing supervisors to ensure patients with the most complex and time-consuming needs are assigned to nurses with the most experience, while keeping the hours needed to provide unit care under control.

However, the bottom line is to have a professional healthcare policy with processes in place that assure the right staff is in place to provide quality care 24/7. That’s where the expertise Cross Country Staffing has developed over that past 35 years becomes so important. This experience has enabled us to design proven workforce solutions that cost-effectively meet the unique staffing challenges of hundreds of facilities nationwide. Cross Country Staffing is ready to help your facility maximize quality care, patient and staff satisfaction with a solution tailored to meet your current and future healthcare staffing needs.