PSNA's Legislative Summary

  1. psna's legislative summarylistserv
    spring/summer 2003

    session off and running
    the 186th session of the pa general assembly began january 1. since the session's start the two primary focus areas have been the state budget and the medical malpractice issue. through the course of the session many bills of importance to nursing and healthcare have been introduced. while not a lot of committee activity is taking place it is important that psna and its members be ever vigilant in letting the legislature know how we stand on various issues. please take a moment to review this email and familiarize yourself with the legislative issues of this session.

    action needed

    let your voice be heard! for all bills that have a number in the state and federal level now is the time to contact your legislators and urge he/she to support these very important pieces of legislation. even though these bills are in committee now, at some point they will come to the house or senate floor for a vote! the proposed pieces of legislation need co-sponsor support. the more co-sponsors a bill has the better chances the bill will move through the legislative process. contact your legislator and urge their support by asking he/she to co-sponsor any or all of the bills in the proposed legislation section. if you have any questions psna is just a phone call (1-888-707-7762, ext. 200) or email ( away!

    state legislation

    hb 264 -- introduced by rep. patricia vance (r-87) is an act providing for recruitment and retention of nurses and the establishment of a pennsylvania center for nursing. this bill was re-referred to the house professional licensure committee on march 5, 2003. psna supports passage of this legislation.
    more information

    sb 580 -- introduced by senator mary jo white (r-21) amends the professional nursing law to define the current scope of practice for certified registered nurse anesthetists. this legislation recognizes crna's as anesthesia providers in cooperation with physicians, dentist or podiatrists. psna supports passage of this legislation.

    [color= green]amendment to the health care facility act -- hb 489 introduced by representative solobay and
    sb 426 introduced by senator schwartz requires health care facilities to have acuity systems, written work assignment policies and staffing plans that meet the below ratio's:

    1:1 in operating rooms and trauma units

    1:2 in critical care areas including labor and delivery units; critical care units, intensive care units and postanesthesia units.

    1:3 in antepartum, emergency, pediatrics, step down and telemetry units.

    1:4 intermediate care nursery, medical-surgical units and acute psychiatric units

    1:5 rehabilitation units

    1:6 postpartum (3 couplets)

    1:6 well baby nursery

    the legislation also requires public disclosure of staffing plans and the institution of nursing recruitment grant programs. these bills are residing in committee. there was a rally at the capitol on may 7 sponsored by seiu and pasnap that brought together over 300 nurses rallying for hb 489 and sb 426.
    (previously reported on here, karen)
    psna does not support passage of this legislation.

    mandatory overtime -- during the course of the new legislative session, many bills have been introduced that would impose limitations on the use of mandatory overtime as a means of regular healthcare worker and nurse staffing. in an effort not to further muddy the waters, psna has taken a position that supports any effort to limit mandatory overtime use, especially for nurses.
    to re-enforce this position the association has sent a memo to all 257 members of the house of representatives regarding the issue of mandatory overtime. additionally, psna has placed information on the psna web site summarizing each bill. it is expected that up to three additional mandatory overtime bills will be introduced in the current session. more information...

    proposed state legislation

    representative patricia vance (r-87) plans to introduce the following bills in the near future:

    - a bill amending the welfare coe to all crnp's and pa's to verify a person's claim to have a physical or mental disability which temporarily or permanently precludes the person from any form of employment or work-related activity

    - a bill amending the vehicle code to allow crnp's and pa's to verify a persons claim to have a disability which allows the use of a special plate or parking placard for persons with disabilities, and to perform an assessment and verify the existence of mental or physical disabilities or disorders that would affect the ability of a person to drive safely and competently.

    - a bill amending the school code to allow crnp's and pa's to certify that applicants for a teacher's certification are neither mentally nor physically disqualified from successfully performing the duties of a teacher.

    rep. mary ann daily (r-146) will introduce the following bills in the near future:

    - a bill amending the professional nurse law granting rn's the ability to delegate appropriate duties to licensed practical nurses and unlicensed personnel. this will give the state board of nursing the authority to regulate the delegation of nursing functions.

    - a bill amending the professional nurse law granting lpn's the ability to delegate appropriate duties to unlicensed personnel. this will give the state board of nursing the authority to regulate the delegation of nursing functions.

    - a bill amending the professional nurse law granting title recognition to the clinical nurse specialist (cns). currently the cns role is recognized under insurance laws of pa but not in the nurse practice acts. 43 other states recognize the cns in statute or regulation.

    - a bill amending the professional nurse law providing 5% of license renewal fees and certifications fees to be used to provide the nurses health program. this program will complement the current voluntary recovery program for nurses with impaired practice by providing earlier detection, treatment and nurse peer assistance/support. this will enable nurses with impaired practices to return to the workforce in a timelier manner.

    psna supports the passage of all of the above proposed pieces of legislation and will provide alerts and updates to the membership as needed.

    federal legislation

    several important pieces of legislation have been introduced on the federal level. click bill name for more information. psna supports passage of each of these bills and asks members to contact their u.s. legislators (santorum prefers to receive a fax) and ask for his/her support!

    safe nursing and patient care act of 2003 (s. 373)

    registered nurse safe staffing act of 2003 (s. 991)

    the nurse loan forgiveness act of 2003 (hr 501)

    nurse education act (title viii, public health service act) provides federal support for nurse workforce development. currently there is an effort to increase funding to $175 million versus $98 million currently budgeted.

    questions regarding the information contained in this summary can be directed to michele campbell, psna executive administrator by calling michele at 1-888-707-7762, ext. 200 or emailing
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jun 5, '03
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    About NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN Moderator

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  3. by   oramar
    yes, yes great legislation, will contact state rep. PS I have watched P. Vance on PCN many times, impressive, in future will keep special eye out for hearing on this subject. PPS love those ratios.. gona tell PSNA how I feel about them not getting behind them
  4. by   pattyjo
    Oramar: When you go to the psna web site, check out the position paper on ratios. My concern with them is they can too easily become absolute, with little room for flexibility. The acuity level is one concern for me, but also the level of experience of the assigned staff. It *is* a difficult problem and I just don't want nursing care reduced to those kinds of numbers and allowing adminstrations to dig in their heels and say "You wanted it, you got it, now live with it." There are days when 1:4 work, there are days when 1:1 would be nice!!! (Dreaming just a tad here!)

    I would be interested in the experiences and opinions of others on this. I just worry about racing in with a quick fix that ends up locking us in, yet we do need some sort of guidelines. What do you all think of the federal legislation proposed by Senator Inouye of Hawaii? (It's referenced in Karen's post with a link, under Federal Legislation, Registered Nurse safe staffing act of 2003)