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Nurses Alliance Applauds New Safe Staffing Legislation in PA House

 

A new house bill sponsored by State Rep. Jim Marshall and State Rep. Mauree Gingrich requires hospitals to publicly report nurse staffing levels for each patient care unit.

HARRISBURG, PA — The Nurse Alliance of SEIU Pennsylvania is proud to support the latest efforts by Pennsylvania representatives to improve nurse staffing in our hospitals and create more transparency for patients and their families.

On Friday, July 2, State Rep. Jim Marshall (R-14) and State Rep. Mauree Gingrich (R-101) introduced House Bill 2244, aimed at giving consumers and all Pennsylvanians access to the information they need to make smart decisions about healthcare. HB2244 would require all hospitals to report nurse staffing levels in every patient care unit to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and to the public.

“As nurses, it is our duty to care for and protect our patients and deliver the highest quality care we are able,” said Deborah Bonn, RN, Director of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Pennsylvania. “But all too often we are hindered in that mission by short staffing in our hospitals. Staffing transparency would shine a light on the serious staffing problems we face in hospitals across Pennsylvania.”

Currently, hospitals in Pennsylvania already compile nurse staffing information and ratios in compliance with existing regulations, but they decline to share it with the DOH or the public. HB 2244 would require they share that information with regulators and consumers who can use it to make informed decisions about their care.

“This May, I joined more than a hundred of my fellow nurses in the Capitol in Harrisburg to make sure our legislators know how serious this issue of safe staffing is for healthcare providers and nurses like me,” said Candie Cook, an RN from Beaver, Pa. “It’s encouraging to know legislators like state representatives Marshall and Gingrich are listening.  Now we need to pass this legislation into law and make nurse staffing levels publicly available for the health of our patients and our communities.”

“The purpose of this legislation is to provide information to the public so they may choose a facility that recognizes the correlation between quality patient care and adequate nurse staffing,” said Rep. Marshall. “Better staffing leads to better outcomes for patients. Consumers should be empowered to make informed decisions that affect their health.”

HB 2244 is a companion to State Sen. Wayne Fontana’s Senate Bill 1081, “The Hospital Nurse Staffing Report Card Act.” Both pieces of legislation are aimed at improving the level of care nurses are able to give their patients and to give Pennsylvanians the information they need to make informed healthcare decisions.

***** Nurses and other officials available for comment.*****

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The Nurse Alliance of Pennsylvania is an affiliate of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, uniting nurses across Pennsylvania in our commitment to provide the safest and highest quality of care for our patients and the public we serve. The Nurse Alliance was created as a forum for nurses to network and discuss ways to meet the challenges we face regarding our licenses and practice. Our mission is to unite nurses across the state to work for our common goals of universal health care, the highest standards of patient care and safety, respect for our profession, and dignity for our patients and their families.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing union of health care workers, representing 45,000 nurses, technicians, nursing assistants, home care workers and support staff in hospitals, nursing homes and public institutions across the Commonwealth. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is committed to improving the lives of health care workers and ensuring quality, affordable health care for all Pennsylvanians.

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