Pennsylvania Mandated Ratio Law One Step Closer

Pennsylvania Introduces House Bill for Hospital Patient Protection Provisions. The proposed legislation aims to improve staffing ratios and enhance patient care in Pennsylvania Hospitals. Nurses Headlines News


  • Editorial Team / Admin
    Specializes in Official allnurses account.

In a significant move towards ensuring high-quality patient care, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania has introduced House Bill No. 106, which focuses on implementing Hospital Patient Protection Provisions.

The bill aims to amend the existing Health Care Facilities Act of 1979, emphasizing enhanced staffing ratios and improved hospital services across the state.

Proposed Ratios

The bill outlines specific staffing ratios for different hospital units, emphasizing direct care registered nurses (RNs). The proposed ratios would ensure that direct care RNs are assigned to a limited number of patients based on the unit's specialty and patient needs.

For instance, in an intensive care unit, a direct care RN would be assigned to no more than two patients, while in a medical-surgical unit, the ratio would be one direct care RN to no more than four patients. These ratios are aimed at providing adequate attention and care to patients while minimizing the workload on healthcare professionals.

Implementation of the Law

To ensure effective implementation and continuous monitoring, the bill proposes the establishment of a Hospital Nurse Staffing Committee in each healthcare facility. This committee would consist of hospital nurse managers and registered nurse direct care staff, including representation from various specialty units.

The committee would be responsible for developing a written hospital-wide staffing plan, reviewing and modifying the plan as necessary, and addressing staffing and patient care concerns.

Furthermore, the legislation emphasizes transparency by requiring hospitals to maintain and publicly post information such as staffing requirements, actual staff-to-patient ratios, and variances between required and actual staffing patterns. This provision aims to ensure accountability and enable patients, healthcare professionals, and the public to access essential information regarding hospital staffing levels.

In cases where a direct care RN feels that staffing ratios are not being met, the bill introduces the concept of "Safe Harbor," which provides protection to direct care RNs who accept assignments despite objections over prescribed ratios. The Department of Health will develop a form for direct care RNs to invoke Safe Harbor and report any violations or concerns.

To enforce compliance with the proposed provisions, the Department of Health would have the authority to impose civil penalties or suspend and revoke hospital licenses for violations. The department would also establish a publicly accessible website to post hospital staffing plans, investigation reports, orders, and any imposed penalties or enforcement actions.

Next Steps

If passed, the House Bill No. 106 will set a significant precedent for prioritizing patient safety, improving staffing ratios, and enhancing overall healthcare quality in Pennsylvania. By emphasizing transparency, accountability, and effective staffing practices, this legislation aims to create a healthcare environment that better meets the needs of patients and promotes the well-being of both healthcare professionals and the community they serve.

The next step in amending the law will be a House vote on 6/20/2023.

(Editorial Team / Admin)

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