Guest Column | June 9, 2014

Acuity Or Ratio: How Do We Properly Staff Our Organizations With Nurses?

Barry P. Chaiken, MD, FHIMSS

By Barry P. Chaiken, MD, FHIMSS

As the healthcare industry shifts to value-based reimbursement and the associated reduction in reimbursement rates, hospitals look to cut costs throughout their organizations. With labor accounting for more than 60 percent of all hospital costs –nurses, who make up the bulk of those costs – find themselves shouldering the burden of labor-related cost reductions. These cost cutting activities manifest themselves through a reduction in staffing, leading to a decrease in nurse-patient ratios and the employment of less experienced professionals at lower salary levels.