Nursing's Role in Safeguarding Acute Care Margins

13 Key Objectives and Recommended Initiatives

Explore 13 nursing strategic objectives for countering the principal forces currently threatening hospital margins.

Executive Summary

Facing a new performance standard

The aggregate effects of four market forces—decelerating reimbursement growth, upward spiraling costs, shifting payer mix, and eroding case mix—are creating a perfect storm of margin pressures. Hospital and health system leaders must take deliberate steps to mitigate all four forces to achieve the 4% operating margin we now recommend hospitals target.

Success on such an all-encompassing strategy requires the support and actions of the largest component of the hospital workforce—nursing.

Centering nursing strategy on most critical hospital priorities

We offer five key areas of focus but recommend disproportionately directing nursing's strategic energies toward the two areas offering the greatest opportunity for impact—bending the cost curve and managing case mix.

  • Maximize revenue capture. Improve performance to maximize reimbursement dollars contingent on outcomes and value of care.
  • Bend the cost curve. Change hospital operations and cost structure to bend projected cost curve.
  • Expand effective capacity. Reduce LOS to increase effective capacity of existing beds.
  • Manage case mix. Better coordinate cross-continuum care to shift lower margin, chronic care patients to ambulatory settings.
  • Instill common purpose. Enfranchise frontline staff in advancing organizational goals to drive continuous improvement.

Read the full study to learn more

Nursing's Role in Safeguarding Acute Care Margins maps today’s new margin imperatives to 13 key nursing objectives that hold the greatest promise for safeguarding hospital margins while elevating care quality.

By reading this study, members will learn:

  • The four principal market forces currently posing a threat to hospital margins
  • Five critical new margin imperatives for the coming decade
  • The specific role that nurse executives should play in safeguarding their organization’s financial health
  • 13 key nursing objectives for strengthening acute care margins

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