Ballad Health, a healthcare system serving parts of Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky, recently committed $10 million to ensuring their nurses receive well-deserved raises. As the Kingsport Times News reported, this investment will be directly put toward wages for acute care registered nurses, long-term care licensed practicing nurses, and scrub techs, among other roles for direct inpatient care and behavioral health.
Alan Levine, Executive Chairman, President and CEO of Ballad
Health, shared this announcement during National Nurses Week in an email to
Ballad Health team members, noting that this increase will be helping thousands
“These areas of focus have been most impacted by the national shortages of health manpower, and have consistently shown the greatest number of vacancies throughout the nation, and certainly our experience is no different here,” Levine stated in his email. “We compete heavily for these professionals and must continue to do so.”
The pay increases will go into effect on June 23 for
existing team members. This investment will also affect starting hourly rates
for new hires.
“Our nurses and those who work with them in the provision of direct patient care are heroes,” Levine added. “Each of us does important work, and that, no doubt, is an important fact. Our amazing nurses would be the first to say they could not do their work without all the people who make a hospital or health care facility operate. And that is part of the humility that makes them great servants. However, it is also true that in an environment where we face a significant national shortage of these critical health care providers, a shortage so significant that the productivity of our nurses and direct bedside caregivers is as high as it has ever been, it is important we appropriately recognize the sacrifice that is being made.”
For more information about Ballad Health, click here.
The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED)
has rewarded the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Nursing with a
$900,000 grant. UNLV will put the grant toward expanding new advanced training
opportunities and continuing education for nurses.
UNLV received the grant to develop nursing certificates designed
to meet specific needs around the state, such as teaching, specialty care, and
“We are excited to be able to expand the skills and competencies of Nevada nurses as clinical research nurses, genetics counselors, and clinical preceptors,” Angela Amar, professor and dean of the UNLV School of Nursing, shared with the UNLV News Center. “This funding allows us the opportunity to advance the health of Nevada citizens by increasing the capabilities of our nurses.”
The grant support, which originated from the GOED’s Workforce Innovations for a New Nevada program, is a continuation of UNLV’s plans in recent years to work on solving the state’s continually evolving medical needs. The UNLV School of Nursing has seen an admission increase of 50 percent since fall 2017 for BSN candidates. The school also has one of the top-ranked online master’s degree programs, and is also home to the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas (CSCLV). The CSCLV, a technologically advanced educational facility, provides nursing and medical students opportunities to practice their skills through various simulations.
“At the UNLV School of Nursing, we educate nurses to provide the highest quality care for the citizens of Nevada,” Amar said. “The developing Las Vegas medical district and UNLV medical school make it important that nursing grows also. The increase in enrollment furthers our ability to meet the health care needs of our diverse population. With a critical need for highly trained nurses across our region and state, expanding our BSN class sizes will increase the number of graduates who can meet this demand.”
The planned certificate programs, which include Certified
Nursing Assistant Instructors, Clinical Research Administrators, and Health
Information Technology and Data Analytics, were developed in partnership with several
health care organizations across the state, such as University Medical Center
of Southern Nevada, and Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada. These partners
will help with job placement for all certification program participants.
The Valley Health System, University Medical Center of
Southern Nevada, Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, and the Kenny Guinn
Center for Policy Priorities. Health care employer partners, along with
projected industry growth, will ensure successful placement of participants following
their completion of the various programs, to ensure these nurses provide the
best possible care to Nevada patients.
For more information about UNLV’s School of Nursing, click here.
It’s probably safe to say that nurse leaders’ favorite subject is not finance. But in today’s healthcare industry, financial incentives and reimbursement have become so entwined with patient care and outcomes, that you cannot have one without considering the other.
Below are recent HealthLeaders Media articles to help nurse leaders make sense out of the dollars and cents attached to patient care.
Last year the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reined in its mandatory bundled payment models, leaving many healthcare providers concerned that investments they made to prepare for these models might for naught.
But those investments in value-based care models may not go wasted after all under CMS’ new voluntary Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced model.
Participants in the new model will be expected to keep Medicare expenditures within a defined budget, while maintaining or improving performance on these seven specific quality measures:
- All-cause hospital re-admissions
- Advanced care plan
- Perioperative care: Selection of prophylactic antibiotic (first or second generation cephalosporin)
- Hospital-level risk-standardized complication rate following elective primary total hip arthroplasty and/or total knee arthroplasty
- Hospital 30-day, all-cause, risk-standardized mortality rate following coronary artery bypass graft surgery
- Excess days in acute care after hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality patient safety indicators
CMS is changing its formula for calculating and allocating funds for uncompensated care for hospitals that qualify under its Disproportionate Share Hospital program. This new method presents both opportunities and challenges for organizations.
Thanks to the changes, hospitals may be able to identify care currently written off without a determination of financial need. Additionally, the new methodology for calculation of Factor 3 — a hospital-specific factor representing its share of the total uncompensated care provided — may allow hospitals to capture a larger portion of uncompensated care funds.
However, leaders should be aware that CMS is phasing in the use of cost report Worksheet S-10 data, including charity care and unreimbursed bad debt. This year, one-third of Factor 3 will be based on this data, but by fiscal year 2020, use of this data will be fully implemented.
To ensure compliance with reporting data on Worksheet S-10, leaders need to review new guidance from CMS as well as their own organizational policies for charity care determinations, uninsured patient discounts, and bad debt collections. Training for staff involved with submission of the cost report and handling charity care write-off is imperative.
One concern consistently raised about the implementation of pay-for-performance models is that healthcare providers and organizations serving more complex patients would not reap the same rewards as hospitals caring for less sick patients.
New research suggests that those fears may be warranted. A November 2017 study found that Medicare’s Value-based Payment Modifier program inadvertently shifted money away from physicians who treated sicker, poorer patients to pay for bonuses that rewarded practices treating richer, healthier populations.
The study’s lead author Eric Roberts, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, said that if changes aren’t made, value-based payment models will continue to foster this inequity.
“Risk adjustment is usually inadequate in these programs, in part, because it is difficult to measure the differences in complexity of patients across providers. We need to take a careful look at how incentives in these programs are structured and how performance is assessed in order to create the right incentives to improve value and outcomes for the most vulnerable patients,” Roberts said.
This story was originally posted on MedPage Today.