The University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Children's Hospital have lost Magnet hospital status, a designation health officials have touted as the "highest honor a hospital can receive for its nursing services."
Low scores in patient and nursing satisfaction and "nursing sensitive indicators," which measure quality of care by looking at such problems as the number of patients who get pressure ulcers or the number of patients who fall, led to the loss of the designation, said Colleen Swartz, chief nurse executive for UK HealthCare. The news was made public Monday.
Overall, UK received high marks in 95 percent of the areas examined by Magnet Recognition Program developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Swartz said.
There are fewer than 400 Magnet hospitals in the United States.
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For its renewal, Swartz said, UK was reviewed in five areas, including transformational leadership, structural empowerment and exemplary professional practice.
The review of a hospital also includes an extensive site visit.
Dr. Karen Drenckard, executive director of the credentialing center that is affiliated with the American Nurses Association, said three appraisers spent four days at UK.
UK received the designation in 2001 and was the 38th facility in the country to be so honored. The designation was renewed in 2005, when a UK news release claimed it "provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark to measure the quality of care they can expect to receive."
Drenckard said she couldn't comment on the percentage of applications that aren't approved or how often hospitals can reapply to obtain or renew status. The American Nurses Credentialing Center charged UK $60,000 to $70,000 for the renewal application fees and expenses, said hospital spokeswoman Kristi Lopez. UK paid $1,850 a day per appraiser plus travel, lodging and other expenses, according to the fee schedule on the center's Web site. Lopez said there is no firm time line for the hospital to reapply.
UK's loss leaves Central Baptist as the only Magnet hospital in Lexington and one of only a handful in the state, according to Central Baptist spokeswoman Ruth Ann Childers and the credentialing center Web site.
Having Magnet status is important in the recruitment and retention of nurses who want to be part of an organization that "adheres to the standards of excellence," said Childers.
Central Baptist received Magnet status in 2005; it was renewed in 2010. Magnet status shows that a hospital is working at the highest levels and interested in continuing to improve patient care, Childers said.
To get its Magnet status renewed, a hospital must show continued progress in patient care. In its most recent application, Childers said, Central Baptist showed continued improvements in pain management and overall safety.
"We are proud of our Magnet status," she said.
While Magnet status has been highly touted by UK, Swartz said she doesn't expect the loss to affect nursing recruitment; however, a nursing satisfaction survey is planned for September.
UK Chandler Hospital is in the midst of a significant expansion, and Dr. Michael Karpf, executive vice president for health affairs, recently announced that the number of hospital employees has gone up by 2,160 in the past seven years. That's an increase of 84 percent.
Swartz said the loss of Magnet status is not a reflection of growing pains. Staffing levels are being evaluated carefully as expansion moves forward, she said.