Ask Congress To Support Nurse Staffing Standards

Legislation is pending before Congress that would require the establishment of nurse-patient ratios to improve the quality of healthcare in our nation's hospitals. This legislation, introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.) as H.R. 2187, and by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in the Senate as S. 992, would require hospitals to implement staffing plans with specific nurse-patient ratios in certain units. The bills would also require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a national acuity tool to establish nurse staffing requirements above minimum ratios. Both bills include provisions that authorizes a nurse to refuse to accept an assignment if it would violate minimum ratios under this Act or if the nurse is not prepared by education, training, or experience to fulfill the assignment without compromising the safety of any patient or jeopardizing the license of the nurse. Included is language that prohibits a hospital from: (1) taking specified actions against a nurse based on the nurse's refusal to accept an assignment for such a reason; or (2) discriminating against any patient, employee, or any other individual for good faith complaints or grievances relating to the care, services, or conditions of the hospital or of any affiliated or related facilities.

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