As people gather together to give thanks this week, nurses, hospitals, and patients have something else to be thankful for: A new Medicare rule that will pay nurses when they help patients make the successful transition from hospitals to other settings.
The new provision can only be described as a huge win for nursing. In fact, if you ask Eileen Carlson, RN, JD, associate director of government affairs for the American Nurses Association, it's one of the biggest things ever to happen in the world of coordinated care.
"Any actions within Medicare or by private payers that reimburse care coordination is a boon for nurses," says Carlson, who was part of the CPT [current procedural terminology] Workgroup that developed the codes.
The rule calls for paying RNs for services that aim to manage patients' transitions from hospitals to other settings and to prevent complications and conditions that cause hospital readmissions. It creates new payment codes for care coordination activities performed by RNs.