The Economics of Nursing: Conference Explores Reimbursement for Quality Nursing Care

Conference on the economics of nursing care, quality and reimbursement

As noted in Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice (Vol. 9, No. 2), historically, the economic value that nursing brings to the patient care process has not been recognized or quantified. Improving the quality of nursing care through work environment changes or increases in staffing is viewed by many as an added cost, but the benefits in terms of money saved through improved nursing satisfaction and patient outcomes are not considered.

In 2007, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers, The State University, co-sponsored a conference that brought together a diverse, multidisciplinary group of health care leaders to explore the issues surrounding reimbursement for quality nursing care.

The conference was the first formal national policy meeting on the topic of nurses' role in the evolving pay-for-performance environment.

Key Results:

  • The "Economics of Nursing Invitational Conference: Paying for Quality Nursing Care" was held at RWJF headquarters in Princeton, N.J., on June 13–14, 2007. The conference addressed the following key issues:
    • How can a "business case" be made for improving and maintaining high-quality nursing care?
    • Should public and private reimbursement systems specifically account for the intensity of nursing care, and if so how?
    • What are the challenges and directions for nurses in a pay-for-performance environment?
  • Approximately 70 people attended. Conference speakers, facilitators and attendees were leaders in nursing; economics; health care administration and funding; and provider, payer and consumer organizations.
  • Conference participants made a number of recommendations for future research and work.
  • Participants made individual pledges to continue work in the area.


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