This letter from Debra Burger, RN, CNA President, was published in the Pasadena Star News on April 26, 2004
What price care?
A recent commentary (April 17) by the chief executive of the hospital association attacking California's landmark patient protection law illustrates why many patients and nurses have lost faith in those hospital industry officials who place their bottom line ahead of patient safety.
The industry execs have filed a lawsuit hoping to throw out decades of California law requiring safe hospital care at all times.
If they win, hospitals will have carte blanche to maintain unsafe nursing care most of the time, sharply increasing the risk of preventable patient deaths, permanent injuries, hospital acquired infections and other calamities as rigorous scientific research now documents.
As president of the California Nurses Association, I'd like to say that California's new law is also helping to restore our tattered nursing infrastructure. With the advent of the safety law, the number of licensed RNs is rapidly increasing. The best evidence is that hospitals and systems that are in compliance and offering adequate compensation and retirement security are not having great trouble hiring RNs and keeping them, thereby enhancing the quality of patient care.
The California Nurse's Association concurs with an April 4 Our View in this newspaper. We've made real progress, let's not turn back the clock.