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Hayden and Atkins introduce Standards of Care Act

by The Big E on February 14, 2013 · 3 comments

Jeff Hayden Joe Atkins

Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Mpls) and Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) introduced the Standards of Care Act today. The bill coordinates both the needs of hospitals and care givers to increase staffing.

“Study after study shows proper staffing lowers health care costs,” said Hayden. “Other states that have implemented and/or studied the staffing standards report the probability of death drops by double-digits. Nurses working at the bedside tell me patients are at risk, and I believe them.”

The Standards of Care Act makes it incumbent upon hospitals to ensure enough nurses are on duty according to patient needs per unit and per shift.  The bill further states that, in developing patient assignments, hospitals will abide by nationally accepted, evidence-based standards established by professional specialty nursing organizations.  In addition, assignment limits would be adjustable for patient acuity and nursing intensity.  The measure would also enforce consequences for facilities that fail to meet these standards.

“It’s clear from study after study that safe Standards of Care save lives,” said Atkins. “We know this is a difficult issue, but we want to work with the hospitals on this — in fact, we’ve already reached out to them. We need to find a solution that works for nurses, hospitals, and most importantly, works for patients and keeps them safe.”

The Minnesota Nurses Assocation (MNA) asserts that more than 60 research studies show that safe RN staffing levels eliminates unnecessary complications, reduces preventable medical errors, and curbs extended hospital stays, thereby reducing risks to patients and saving precious health care dollars.

“We are excited to officially begin the legislative process that will institute Standards of Care in every hospital, on every shift, for every patient throughout Minnesota,” said MNA President Linda Hamilton, RN, BSN, “The lawmakers here share our concern that patients are needlessly at risk in our hospitals because not enough skilled registered nurses are on duty to adequately handle the needs of vulnerable people in the acute care setting.”

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