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Medicare changes could boost nurses' status

November 12 2008

Medicare changes will make hospital revenue more dependent on nurses than in the past, according to a survey of 305 hospital chief nursing officers by AMN Healthcare Services Inc. (NYSE: AHS).

Sixty-two percent of chief nursing officers said an ongoing Medicare effort to tie hospital reimbursement to patient satisfaction would enhance the status of nurses. In addition, new rules where Medicare will not pay hospitals for care provided as a result of diseases acquired at hospitals, known as "never events," will also enhance the status of nurses, according to more than 54% of chief nursing officers.

AMN Chief Nursing Officer Marcia Faller said hospitals with a full complement of nurses may be less likely to suffer "never events" and their patient satisfaction scores may be higher.

"Many hospitals in the past have considered nurses to be a cost," Faller said. "Under the new payment systems, they are more likely to be seen as an investment."

Overall, the survey found that 70% said nurses would be considered more important as a source of revenue because of the changes.

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