US hospitals are penalized for excess 30-day readmissions and mortality for select conditions. Under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services policy, readmission prevention is incentivized to a greater extent than mortality reduction. A strategy to potentially improve hospital performance on either measure is by improving nursing care, as nurses provide the largest amount of direct patient care. However, little is known as to whether achieving nursing excellence, such as Magnet status, is associated with improved hospital performance on readmissions and mortality.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between hospitals’ Magnet status and performance on readmission and mortality rates for Medicare beneficiaries.
This is a cross-sectional analysis of Medicare readmissions and mortality reduction programs from 2013 to 2016. A propensity score–matching approach was used to take into account differences in baseline characteristics when comparing Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals.
The sample was comprised of 3877 hospitals.
The outcome measures were 30-day risk-standardized readmission and mortality rates.
Following propensity score matching on hospital characteristics, we found that Magnet hospitals outperformed non-Magnet hospitals in reducing mortality; however, Magnet hospitals performed worse in reducing readmissions for acute myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass grafting, and stroke.
Magnet hospitals performed better on the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Mortality Program than the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. The results of this study suggest the need for The Magnet Recognition Program to examine the role of nurses in postdischarge activities as a component of its evaluation criteria.