i currently work in a magnet hospital, and we have just obtained magnet status for a second time. a hospital cannot be built and just have magnet status, it's a huge long process in which the hospital actually has to apply, they send representatives that come to your facility and go through all of the nursing processes (shadowing nurses, going through charts, and all documentation, etc...), and read through press gainey reports. basically it's like a "test" and you get a pass or fail... in other words, based on thier findings through their very detailed observations and interviews, you are then designated magnet, or not.
in my experience, it was like a jcaho survey. it's that detailed, or at least it was in our facility two times over. it's a prestigious designation, and knowing what the whole thing entailed, i'm proud to be employed at our hospital and under magnet recognition.