OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this project was to examine the financial impact of adding nurse practitioners (NPs) to inpatient care teams at Vanderbilt University Hospital.
BACKGROUND: National initiatives targeting quality, safe, and cost-effective healthcare have created the optimal environment for NPs to showcase their abilities and contributions. Identifying outcomes that are directly affected by NPs and quantifying data in terms of dollars can be affirmation for the contribution of the NP practice. Value can be garnered in terms of revenue generation and cost-effectiveness of hiring NP providers; however, a considerable financial impact can be in cost avoidance and cost savings through NP-associated outcomes of care.
METHODS: This was a retrospective, secondary analysis of return on investment after adding NPs to 5 teams. Software was used to abstract billing, acuity, and length of stay (LOS) data and NP-associated quality metrics. Billing data, LOS, and risk-adjusted LOS data for designated years before and after adding NPs were compared.
RESULTS: Gross collections compared with expenses for 4 NP-led teams for 2 year time periods were 62%, 36%, and 47%, and +32%. Average risk-adjusted LOS for the 5 time periods after adding NPs decreased and charges decreased, thus demonstrating less resource use. Most clinical outcomes improved beyond preproject baselines.
CONCLUSION: This project demonstrated the value of adding NPs to inpatient care teams by means of generated revenue, reduction in LOS, and standardization of quality care.