D.C. Hospitals And Nurses Fight Over Staffing Ratios

  1. 4
    D.C. Hospitals And Nurses Fight Over Staffing Ratios - Kaiser Health

    By David Schultz
    Feb 22, 2013


    Hospital administrators in Washington, D.C., are furiously lobbying against a bill modeled on a California law that would require them to maintain a minimum nurse-to-patient ratio at all times.

    Nursing unions say the proposed Patient Protection Act codifies into law minimum staffing levels that are needed to maintain patient safety, while hospitals say the cost of hiring new nurses to comply with the law would put them out of business.

    The ratios called for in the bill vary depending on the hospital department. In a pediatrics unit, the bill would require no less than a 1-to-4 nurse-to-patient ratio. In the operating room, hospitals would have to maintain a 1-to-1 ratio -- one nurse for every patient at all times.

    Deidre Beckford, a nurse at MedStar Washington Hospital Center who has worked there for more than 20 years, says understaffing has forced her to take care of five to six patients at a time. ...


    The nursing bill in D.C. would reduce some of this fluctuation. It’s modeled after a nearly identical law that took effect in 2004 in California, the only state to require minimum staffing ratios in its hospitals. So far, it’s unclear whether this requirement has had a positive or negative effect in California hospitals.
    Studies have shown that the law has led to an increase in nurse hiring in California and a decrease in nurse turnover due to burnout. But researchers also found that the law put significant financial pressure on some hospitals. ...

    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Mar 2, '13 : Reason: TOS edit re copyright, added link
    herring_RN, SoldierNurse22, MBARNBSN, and 1 other like this.

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  2. 19 Comments...

  3. 2
    The above is difficult to read.
    This link should help -- D.C. Hospitals And Nurses Fight Over Staffing Ratios - Kaiser Health News

    Another article:
    Proposed legislation seeks to address inadequate nurse staffing at DC hospitals

    Area nurses are calling it a critical patient care issue. They are concerned that there are not enough nurses for the number of patients being cared for at area hospitals.
    The D.C. Council is expected to address the issue by holding public meetings as they consider The Patient Protection Act.
    "Across the District, patient safety is regularly threatened because hospital corporations refuse to ensure that there are enough registered nurses working at the bedside," said Bonnie Linen Caroll, a registered nurse.
    The legislation would call for a certain ratio when it comes to nurses and the number of patients currently in their unit. Also, the law would protect whistleblowers, and do away with mandatory overtime.
    The District of Columbia Hospital Association would like to discuss this issue with area nurses, but does not believe this is an issue that should be addressed through local legislation.

    SoldierNurse22 and laborer like this.
  4. 10
    Since the Safe Staffing law went into effect in 2004 California hospital profits and excess revenue increased.

    HCA Posts Strong Profits at California Hospitals Amid Federal Scrutiny - California Healthline

    California not-for-profit hospitals and systems included in the study had aggregate net income in 2010 of $4,491,430,472.
    100 executives of non-profit hospitals have incomes over $1,000,000 in 2010
    a new report released today.

    Hospital Financial Performance - Office of Statewide Health ...






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    Bonnie Linen-Carroll, RN, an OR nurse at Washington Hospital Center, emphasized, “I have dedicated my life to providing nursing care to people who are at their most vulnerable,” she said. Linen-Carroll set her sites on intransigent management. “The hospital corporations refuse to ensure that there are enough registered nurses working at the bedside.”

    [COLOR=#003366]Daily Kos: Nurses lead push for safer care in DC hospitals[/COLOR]#

    pat36335, forthebirds, KG247, and 4 others like this.
  6. 7
    Lives have been saved by California safer staffing...
    Nurse researchers, led by Linda Aiken, R.N., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, compared the outcomes for nurses and quality of care in California and two states without legislation—Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They surveyed 22,336 nurses in all three states and examined patient outcomes, including 30-day inpatient mortality and failure to rescue across hospitals according to whether the nurses cared for fewer or more patients each.

    Key Findings:
    • Nurse workloads in New Jersey and Pennsylvania on all types of units were above California-mandated staffing levels.
    • If they matched California nurse staffing ratios in medical and surgical units, New Jersey hospitals would have 13.9 percent fewer patient deaths and Pennsylvania 10.6 percent fewer deaths, saving 486 lives over two years.
    • With lower workloads, California nurses reported more job satisfaction, less burnout and better quality of care.

    When hospital nurse staffing levels are raised, nurse satisfaction and patient outcomes both benefit—and lives are saved. ...

    Implications of the California Nurse Staffing Mandate for Other States - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    sneeds, forthebirds, KG247, and 4 others like this.
  7. 11
    Quote from herring_RN
    Lives have been saved by California safer staffing...
    Not to mention the sanity of more than a few nurses.
    IowaKaren, sneeds, nrsang97, and 8 others like this.
  8. 3
    Amen and then some to Chisca's comment. I can remember having 13 patients one shift before staffing ratios went into effect. Conversely, the patients admitted now are so sick that I'm every bit as busy as I was in those days - with only five patients!
    sneeds, applewhitern, and herring_RN like this.
  9. 5
    How can these hospital administrators possibly defend their positions without looking like the monsters they are?
    sneeds, Guttercat, applewhitern, and 2 others like this.
  10. 2
    The hospital says that if they hire more nurses, they would not be able to hire the ancillary staff - nursing assistants and other general staff, so nurses would have fewer patients, but increased workload (or decreased assistance).
    laborer and herring_RN like this.
  11. 4
    Quote from PolaBar
    The hospital says that if they hire more nurses, they would not be able to hire the ancillary staff - nursing assistants and other general staff, so nurses would have fewer patients, but increased workload (or decreased assistance).
    The hospital is owned by Med Star. Their net assets for 2008 were $235,090,744.00.
    Washington Hospital Center Corporation in Washington, District of Columbia (DC) - faqs.org

    2009 there was an article on area non profit CEO compensation:
    Kenneth Samet, President, CEO and Director of Medstar Health, earned the second-highest salary with $2,647,227 in total compensation. Nearly half of his salary ($1,157,977) came in the form of a bonus.

    http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/stor...its/2010-08-30
    HazelLPN, sneeds, KG247, and 1 other like this.


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