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Nursing Plays Key Role in CMS Pay for Performance.

Posted Dec 23 2008 9:14pm
W ith the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) new hospital acquired conditions list which goes into effect this fall nursing moves to front and center stage with its role in patient care. Traditionally placed way in the background by most healthcare facilities, attention to nursing standards is becoming a reality for many facilities. Eight iatrogenic conditions deemed as preventable by CMS will no longer garner reimbursement for healthcare facilities by CMS.

While I personally don't agree with the entire list as purely nursing influenced the list is set and will go into effect later this fall. Some nurses understandably will likely feel on edge as their work will be scrutinized. Hopefully hospitals will finally address the many issues that have plagued nursing for years which if resolved will undoubtedly improve patient care. Issues such as large nurse to patient ratios, mandatory overtime, lack of allied help form aids, and patient care technicians, and proper functioning equipment are just a few of the short fall areas that exist in many hospitals today.

True it is likely that hospitals may use the new CMS reimbursement rules to blame nursing for any iatrogenic complications but I would hope that hospitals will take the high road which is what they should have done decades ago and institute best practices, look for ways to improve patient care through additional resource allocation, and provide additional training and mentoring as needed.

While the CMS reimbursement rules will likely cause some stress for hospital administrators, it will force healthcare facilities to pay attention to the needs of nursing. Pity that it takes something like losing money for healthcare leaders to care about nursing issues.

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