You pay for what you get, especially when it comes to caregivers. Thats the major takeaway from an analysis of the annual 100 Top Hospital list from Solucient, an Evanston, Ill.-based healthcare information company.
Welcome to our seventh annual 100 Top Hospitals supplement in which we again attempt to answer the question: What do high-performing hospitals do differently than lesser-performing ones that makes them so good? In past supplements, weve looked at such variables as: patient-safety strategies; adoption of new medical technologies; specific clinical practices; nurse-staffing levels; executive-suite characteristics; and the use of hospitalists.
This years supplement looks at the connection between high clinical and financial performance and a hospitals labor costs. According to a Solucient study, hospitals that made the firms latest 100 Top list pay their employees an average of $3,000 more in salary and benefits than do hospitals that didnt make the list. A report on the study appears exclusively in this supplement along with Solucients latest 100 Top Hospitals list. The 2006 list, the firms 14th annual, appeared exclusively in the March 12 (p. 28) issue of Modern Healthcare.
The study found hospitals that spend more on highly capable caregivers actually spend less on contract labor and overtime. Thats a hard lesson to follow in the short-term as immediate financial demands may prompt some hospitals to keep their wallets tight. But in the long term, as the study reveals, spending big on talented staffers will actually save hospitals money and produce better patient outcomes.
Said one hospital executive who learned that lesson: We want to make sure we dont lose people because we dont pay enough.
Perhaps hospitalized patients should start asking nurses: What are they paying you? rather than Is that the right medication?
This years report was written by frequent contributor and former Modern Healthcare reporter Elizabeth Gardner. You can reach her at [email protected] We thank her for her fine work, as usual. We also would like to thank copy editor Stacie Williams, who served as the editorial project manager on this supplement. If you have any questions or comments on the supplement or would like to suggest topics for future analysis, please contact me at 312-649-5439, or at [email protected]