Campus News

Study: Magnet hospital status may offer financial benefits

Magnet recognition is considered one of the highest credentials a hospital can receive for its nursing care. Yet achieving Magnet status can be expensive with investment costs reaching tens of thousands of dollars.

A recent UGA study, led by Jayani Jayawardhana, a health economist in the College of Public Health, asked whether the investment was worth it. The answer, she found, is yes.

“Although the initial investment cost is high, hospitals do have a fiscal incentive to go through the Magnet designation process,” Jayawardhana said.

The results of the study were published in the early online edition of Medical Care.

Jayawardhana’s collaborators on the research were John Welton, a professor in the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus’ College of Nursing, and Richard Lindrooth, an associate professor in the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Health.

Developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the Magnet Recognition Program recognizes health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. Studies have shown that Magnet hospitals have higher job satisfaction and lower odds of patient mortality than non-Magnet hospitals.

However, reaching Magnet status can take up to four and a half years of preparation and can require significant investment by hospitals to make the quality and process improvements needed, Jayawardhana said. Only about 7 percent of registered hospitals in the U.S. have achieved Magnet status, according to the ANCC website.

“However, we found that the revenue gains actually offset the investment costs of becoming a Magnet,” she said. “In about two to three years, these hospitals not only catch up with their investment budget, but begin making a profit.”

The study analyzed 141 Magnet hospitals and 2,541 non-Magnet hospitals from 1998 to 2006 by combining data from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the American Hospital Association’s annual survey and Hospital Cost Report Information System reports collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.