Help pass the Patients' Bill of Rights (House Bill 661)

Nurses Safety


  • Specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele.

This was sent to me via e-mail, just thougth I'd share it with everyone here


Safe staffing protects patients and saves lives!

Help pass the Patients' Bill of Rights (House Bill 661)

Healthcare corporations and HMO's have been cutting patient care with

disastrous results for patients, nurses, and all who work in healthcare.

It's time to stand up and do something to stop it. The Nurses Professional

Organization has initiated legislation to help.

Representative Joni Jenkins Stands Up for Patients

Representative Joni Jenkins has introduced House Bill 661 that will protect

patients, save lives, and return nursing decisions to nurses. There are

almost 60,000 nurses in Kentucky. If each nurse, healthcare worker, and

patient calls or writes her/his legislators, we can make this Patients' Bill

of Rights a reality.

The Patients' Bill of Rights (HB 661) Will:

- Mandate hospitals and nursing homes to staff according to acuity. They

would have to follow their own acuity based staffing plan and also make it

available to the public.

- Provide that the staff nurse who actually cares for a patient is the one

who does the assessment and assigns the acuity for each patient.

- Protect nurses from being forced to delegate nursing judgment and from

being forced to delegate to those who do not have the appropriate skills,

training, or expertise to handle a patient assignment safely.

- Require all hospitals to report to the Cabinet of Health Services their

mortality, morbidity, infection and injury rates. These statistics would

then be available to the public. (Currently consumers can find out more

about the car or appliance they are purchasing than they can find out about

the hospital or nursing facility they or their loved one is about to enter.

No one now has access to this information. NPO believes there is a direct

correlation between these rates and staffing. We believe that when there is

understaffing these rates go up and when there is good staffing these rates

go down.)

- Assure Whistleblower protection. Protect the right of nurses, physicians

and other caregivers to advocate for their patients. No health care business

could discharge, demote, terminate a contract with, deny privileges to or

otherwise sanction a physician, nurse, or other caregiver for advocating in

private or public on behalf of patients or for reporting any violation of the

law to appropriate authorities.

- Provide protection against the discharge or reprimand of any nurse who

justifiably refuses to accept a patient assignment that is unsafe.

- Stop any financial incentives to physicians, nurses or other caregivers to

delay or deny the safe and appropriate care to which patients are entitled.

- Allow a nurse to refuse a patient assignment if her/his orientation,

education, and experience are not adequate to safely perform that assignment.

- Allow a nurse to refuse to be mandated to work overtime when the nurse's

ability to respond to the patients' needs may be compromised or jeopardized

by the nurse's fatigue and decreased alertness.

- Provide extra protection for the most vulnerable patients. Minimum,

acuity-based, staffing ratios are set for newborn nurseries, intensive care

nurseries, pediatric units, and pediatric intensive care units. These

staffing ratios are only minimum criteria and shall not release the facility

from the obligation to provide greater numbers of staff if the acuity of

patients calls for greater numbers of staff.

Nurses, healthcare workers and citizens must speak up to pass this bill.

Here's how you can help.

Take a few moments to write to your state representative and senator and let

them know from your own experience why Kentuckians need this law.

Many people do not know who their legislators are. You can find them on the

web at Or you can contact the NPO at (502)

459-3393, or call the county board of elections in your area. Give your

address and ask who your state representative and senator are in the Kentucky

General Assembly.

To send mail to a legislator:

Senator or Representative (insert name)

Legislative offices

Capitol Annex

Frankfort, KY 40601

Handwritten letters are very effective.

Phone Your Legislators

If you are unable to write, please at least take the time to call this toll

free number and leave a message for your state representative and senator.


The message line is staffed 7 AM -11 PM Mon. thru Thurs. and 7 AM - 6 PM on

Fridays. If you wish to speak to your legislators directly, you may leave a

message for them to return your call.

If you would like to go with NPO to Frankfort to speak with legislators, if

you would like a copy of the full text of HB 661, or if you want to help in

any way, please contact NPO.


Nurses Professional Organization, AFSCME

1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2200

Louisville, KY 40217

Phone: (502) 459-3393

Fax: (502) 459-3681

E mail: [email protected]


Brian Short

WORLDWIDE NURSE: The Internet's Nursing Directory

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