A University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing study in the journal Health Affairs found hospitals with high nurse staffing levels were 25% less likely than those with lower levels to be penalized by Medicare for having high readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients. Researcher Matthew McHugh said nurses oversee many activities that can help prevent readmissions, such as care coordination, discharge planning, and teaching patients and families about self-care at home.

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