Magnet Status Can Help Improve Patient Care and a Hospital’s Bottom Line

Past research has shown that Magnet hospitals provide improved outcomes for both patients and nurses. Not surprisingly, a recently released study shows that just the process of applying for Magnet status can lead to a better work environment and enhanced patient care.

Currently, more than 400 U.S. hospitals claim Magnet status, a designation which indicates the highest quality of nursing, patient care and professional practices. There are a number of benefits to the program, though improving patient satisfaction and safety through a positive work climate is paramount.

Published in the June issue of Medical Care, the study followed 136 Pennsylvania hospitals, 11 of which were in the year-long review process to achieve Magnet status. These “emerging Magnet” hospitals experienced improved nurse satisfaction, exhibiting lower adjusted rates of burnout, job dissatisfaction and intent to quit than did their non-Magnet counterparts.

Hospitals applying for the designation also reported fewer patient deaths:

  • 1 fewer deaths per 1,000 patients for failure-to-rescue
  • 4 fewer deaths per 1,000 for 30-day surgical mortality

Financial Benefits

Pursuing Magnet status not only improves patient care and the quality of a nurses’ work environment, but it can also benefit a hospital’s bottom line. According to a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and published in Medical Care in May 2014, the elite designation can boost revenue by an average of $1,229,770 to $1,263,926 a year.

And while the study found that Magnet status increased patient costs by 2.46 percent – net patient revenue went up an average of 3.89 percent compared to non-Magnet institutions.

Researchers speculate that the growth in revenue is due to increased reimbursement rates from private insurers. Since Magnet hospitals have higher quality care and thus, better patient outcomes, there is an added desirability to include them in insurers’ networks.

Return on Investment

On average, a hospital spends a little over 4 years completing the process of achieving Magnet status. Though the typical total investment over this time is $2,125,000, hospitals usually begin to reap the financial benefits from Magnet status in just two to three years.

A Win-Win

Pursuing Magnet status appears to benefit the well-being of nurses and patients, and is also proving to be beneficial to the overall financial health of the hospital.

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