Healthcare Associated Infections, Nurse Staffing, and Financial Performance

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Inquiry (United States)


Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) are a concern to patients, hospital administrators and policymakers. For over than a decade, efforts have been made to hold hospitals accountable for the costs of HAIs. This study uses contingency theory as a framework to examine the association between HAIs and hospital financial performance. We use publicly available data on 2059 hospitals in 2014 to 2016 that include HAIs, staffing financial performance, and hospital and hospital market characteristics. The key independent variables are available infection rates and nurse staffing. The dependent variables are indicators of financial performance: operating margin, total margin, and days cash on hand. We find nearly identical negative direct associations between infections and operating margins and total margins (−0.07%), and positive associations between the interaction of infections and nurse staffing (0.05%). A 10% higher infection rate would be predicted to be associated with only a 0.2% lower profit margin. The associations between HAIs, nurse staffing and days cash on hand were insignificantly different from zero.

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