Dem proposes federal regulation of nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals S.739

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    Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Tuesday proposed legislation that would require hospitals to maintain a minimum nurse-to-patient ratio at all times, and allow the government to audit and penalize hospitals that fail to comply with this rule. ...

    ... Her bill would apply to hospitals across the country that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, and is similar to bills that failed to advance in the last few Congresses.

    Boxer's bill last year required a nurse each for every one patient in trauma or operating room units. It also required one nurse for every two patients in critical care, every three patients in emergency rooms, every four patients in medical-surgical units, and every five patients in rehabilitation units.

    It also required a nurse for every six patients in a well-baby nursery unit.

    Last year's version called on the government to periodically audit hospitals to ensure the requirements are met, and allows the government to impose civil penalties against hospitals that are out of compliance. The penalty can be as high as $25,000 per hospital for each knowing violation of the law individuals can also be fined up to $20,000 per violation. ...
    kabfighter, HazelLPN, sneeds, and 4 others like this.
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    National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act
    Bill # S.739

    Follow the legislation at Library of Congress THOMAS bill locator:
    Search Bill Text - 113th Congress - THOMAS (Library of Congress)


    ANA's link Bills & Votes in the U.S. 113th Congress
    VickyRN, sneeds, and herring_RN like this.
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    While this proposed legislation would be wonderful, I will not get my hopes up. The lobbyists for the multimillion dollar hospital systems wield more than enough power and money to 'kill this bill.'
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    I hope that there is enough power to get this passed...I'm very ambivalent if this will get passed though...however, it will help a TON of nurses, new grads included, looking for work, and increase the health if our patients!
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    Mostly it will help patients.
    Increased hours of bedside nursing are directly related to improved patient outcomes.
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    Quote from tewdles
    Mostly it will help patients.
    Increased hours of bedside nursing are directly related to improved patient outcomes.
    ^Medicare has been tracking nursing outcomes for about 8 years...hospitals should be in the curve if this, but are not. This changed us needed, absolutely.

    I'm more optimistic of the many nurses who need to help the ones at the bedside, and are shut out of being at the bedside as well. There's a lot of talent that can be helping our patients. We need to continue to make sure the patients are first and make sure there are competent nurses for generations to come.
    nrsang97, tewdles, herring_RN, and 1 other like this.
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    How would that work in the ER? Seems like it would be a scheduling nightmare unless you schedule based on the number of beds.
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    Quote from SycamoreStudent
    How would that work in the ER? Seems like it would be a scheduling nightmare unless you schedule based on the number of beds.
    I worked ERs where safe patient ratios work just fine without any problems with "scheduling". You would be surprised how many nurses prefer to show up to work in safe staffing environments. I have personally called in sick to employers (when I worked in the South) when I knew the staffing was bad...... So hanging on to the status quo in is not a good thing for Nursing. All nurses need to be protected by safe ratios. Not just those in one or two States.
    Ayvah, plinytheRN, Not_A_Hat_Person, and 4 others like this.
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    IF (and that is a big IF) this comes to pass, then something will have to give. For example, no more assistive personnel on the floors in order to balance out the employment of more nurses. Nurses would probably have to do everything for their patients. I don't have problem with this, but I can see some folks having a hissy fit over it.
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    I'm kind of conservative in many ways, but honestly, I would support this. There's no reason not to safely staff--unless there is some kind of emergent crisis.


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