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

  1. 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:

    Brian Short
    WORLDWIDE NURSE: The Internet's Nursing Directory

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    About Brian, ADN

    Joined: Mar '98; Posts: 15,418; Likes: 16,398 founder; from US
    Specialty: 18+ year(s) of experience in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele