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Nurses Stand to Gain from Value-based Care

Nurses stand to gain from value-based care.

Value-based care helps nurses can demonstrate increased economic value.

In healthcare today, it’s all about value. And as an article in points out, the shift from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care, which focuses on outcomes and quality metrics, has created an opportunity for nurses to emphasize the economic benefits and quality of care they provide – and, in the process, earn their proper reward in the healthcare system.

“As we move to new payment models, for example bundled payment or accountable care organizations, it will be vital to understand how much nursing care contributes to the results of the care and how we interact together,” said John M. Welton, PhD, RN, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla., and a proponent of value-based nursing care.

“I think it’s hard for nurses to put a dollar value on what we do, because it feels awkward,” Welton said. “But it shouldn’t. Nursing is part of the business of caring.”

The Affordable Healthcare Act and value-based purchasing are two drivers behind the move from volume-based to value-based care, which is “fundamentally changing the way we are organized and deliver care,” noted K. Kelly Hancock, MSN, RN, NE-BC, executive chief nursing officer for Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, in the article. “The goal is to provide better care for our patients, better health management for the population, which advanced practice nurses and nurses in the community are involved with, all at a lower cost,” she said.

Kevin T. Kavanagh, MD, board chairman of the nonprofit Health Watch USA in Somerset, Ky., and colleagues made a similar point in a 2012 article, arguing that nursing-sensitive, value-based purchasing holds the potential to improve care by offering a financial carrot to hospitals to create better nurse practice environments.

“This would rebalance the financial equation in favor of improved patient care by financially rewarding hospitals that increase nursing staff and would lower societal health care costs by producing better patient outcomes,” Kavanagh wrote.

Ultimately, the nursing profession must elbow its way into the conversation to ensure that nurses receive their fair share.

“If nurses can demonstrate the economic value and viability of doing a better job, should we not consider giving nurses more money?” Welton wondered.