Bills in MI House, Senate aim to increase hospital accountability and transparency
LANSING – Michigan Nurses Association members today applauded the reintroduction of the Safe Patient Care Act, a bipartisan plan to make Michigan hospitals safer by setting limits on nurses’ patient assignments, curbing forced overtime for registered nurses, and requiring hospitals to release staffing information.
“Too often, nurses have to juggle too many patients or work past the point of exhaustion, which means we can’t give every person the skilled care they need and deserve,” said Jamie Brown, RN, president of the Michigan Nurses Association. “Many people don’t realize there is no law about the number of patients nurses can be assigned or the hours we can be forced to work. Nurses are pleased to see so much bipartisan momentum for the urgently needed solutions in the Safe Patient Care Act.”
Years of reliable research* have established the link between understaffed nursing shifts and increased patient infections, falls, medication errors and even preventable deaths.
Lawmakers from around the state served as primary sponsors of the bipartisan package, which has dozens of cosponsors from both sides of the aisle and across the state. The bills:
Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette): “Far too many nurses are being forced to work excessive hours, which puts both them and their patients at risk. Growing up, I felt the impact in my own family as I watched my mother have to take on unexpected shifts and long hours. No one can expect nurses to keep patients safe and well-cared for when they themselves are exhausted or sleep-deprived. I’m proud to sponsor this bipartisan solution that will make hospitals safer and help nurses do the best job possible.”
Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit): “Just as there are limits on working hours for truck drivers and air traffic controllers, there should be limits on how many hours nurses can be forced to work. Nurses need reasonable shifts and a chance to rest between them. My bill helps ensure that everyone in the hospital can get care from a well-rested nurse.”
Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo): “Many nurses are routinely stretched too thin on the job, and that keeps them from providing the best care possible to every patient. We need the Safe Patient Care Act to ensure that no matter what hospital you go to, your nurse can provide the proper attention you need. This is a great bipartisan movement toward protecting patients all across the state.”
Rep. Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis): “If hospitals have proper nursing staff on duty, they should have no problem sharing that basic data. It’s just plain wrong that people can’t get important information about the nursing care at their local hospital. This legislation ensures we all have the facts about how many patients our nurses are being assigned, which directly affects the quality of our care. Transparency never leads to bad things and this is public health we’re talking about.”
Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan): “We have safety regulations regarding personnel on the job and hours worked in many businesses in the state, especially in ones where public safety is involved like truck drivers and pilots. My own personal experiences at hospitals have shown me how difficult it is for patients and their caregivers because of maintaining bare-minimum staffing levels and requiring these professionals to work such exhausting schedules in non-emergency situations. These concerns go far beyond one party or place - this affects all of us.”
Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield): “Michigan residents expect and deserve more transparency across the board, including when it comes to their health care. Patients and their families have the right to this basic information, and my legislation simply makes sure they have access to it.”
The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest and most effective labor and professional association for registered nurses in the state.
*See misaferhospitals.org/resources for compiled research. ###
Contact: Dawn Kettinger; 517-721-9688 or Amelia Dornbush; 517-896-7478
Hearing Highlights Concerns About Patient Harm in Hospitals
Nurses, bipartisan sponsors urge action on adding accountability and transparency to the industry
(Lansing, MI) Registered nurses today welcomed a hearing on the Safe Patient Care Act in the House Health Policy Committee as major progress in the effort to add much-needed accountability and transparency to the hospital industry.
“Registered nurses appreciate this opportunity to raise awareness about this legislation, which is needed to make sure that hospitals create conditions in which nurses can keep our patients safe from harm and provide the best care possible,” said John Armelagos, RN and President of the Michigan Nurses Association. “The Safe Patient Care Act has broad support from legislators from both sides of the aisle. This hearing represents a sea change in terms of more legislators recognizing this as an urgent, nonpartisan public safety issue. Michigan nurses applaud Chairman Vaupel for bringing the Safe Patient Care Act up in committee and we look forward to continuing to work with all legislators to move this forward.”
More than 70 registered nurses from around the state attended the hearing to show support, including RNs from as far away as Marquette. Nurses also presented more than 4,000 postcards from registered nurses urging legislators to take action on the bills.
Bipartisan plan aims to make hospitals safer, help RNs provide the best care possible
Legislators want more hospital accountability, transparency on nurse staffing
(Includes quotes from all six sponsoring legislators - three Republicans, three Democrats)
(Lansing, MI) Six lawmakers from around the state and both parties today introduced various bills that
aim to help RNs provide the best care possible and keep people safe from harm in Michigan’s hospitals.
The package, called the Safe Patient Care Act, sets safe limits on the number of patients a registered
nurse can be assigned, limits the hours an RN can be forced to work, and requires hospitals to be
transparent about their staffing levels.
“Your nurse is your first line of defense in the hospital, but RNs all over the state report that they
have less and less time to spend monitoring and taking care of each patient,” said John Armelagos, RN,
President of the Michigan Nurses Association. “A law requiring safe RN staffing levels is urgently needed, considering that patient harm in hospitals is now the third leading cause of death in America. Nurses see every day how without a law, it’s the patients who suffer while the industry prospers.”
Michigan RNs report consistent understaffing and excessive forced overtime at many hospitals. In
independent polling last year, 86% of Michigan RNs said patient care is suffering because they are
assigned too many patients and 22% reported awareness of a patient dying because of short staffing.
The strong bipartisan support for the 3-part package, with legislative sponsors from both parties and
all parts of Michigan, reflects growing interest in holding the profitable hospital industry accountable for
addressing the widespread problem of understaffing and overworking hospital RNs.
News from the Michigan Nurses Association
Contact: Sara Wallenfang, 517-974-4966
Hundreds of Nurses Rally for Patient Safety
RNs demand a law to fix understaffing at Michigan Hospitals
(Lansing, MI) Over 500 nurses and nursing students from across the state rallied on the Capitol steps today in support of the Safe Patient Care Act. The law is needed because Michigan’s Registered Nurses are frequently forced to care for too many patients at once in Michigan hospitals or work past the point of exhaustion.
“Understaffed hospitals put our patients are at risk. We are fed up with policies that prioritize profits at the expense of the people in our care,” said John Armelagos, RN and President of the Michigan Nurses Association. “We, as nurses, need a law so that we can provide the best care possible and protect patients from harm.”
The Safe Patient Care Act would ensure that every hospital in Michigan is a safe environment for patients by limiting the number of patients a nurse can be assigned at one time. It also limits mandatory overtime so that our loved ones aren’t under the care of nurses too exhausted to work safely. It also requires hospitals to disclose their RN-to-patient ratios, so that the public knows whether staffing meets safety standards.
House committee hears how RN staffing affects hospital safety
As the issue of patient safety in hospitals grows more prominent in the public eye, a state House committee heard an update today from an international expert on nurse staffing and patient safety.
Sean Clarke, RN, PhD, FAAN, presented the bipartisan committee with a research perspective on why adequate registered nurse staffing is widely recognized as one of the most effective ways to keep patients safe in hospitals.
“Results are clear and compelling regarding increased risks of injury and death for patients at lower RN staffing levels,” Clarke told the Regulatory Reform Committee. Clarke is a professor and associate dean at Connell School of Nursing in Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA. He has 15 years of experience in research on the issue, including work with the leading center in the field. “The overwhelming evidence from the research is that RN-to-patient ratios are among the most consistent predictors of the safety and quality of hospital care – and one of the few we can control.”
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Contact: Sara Wallenfang, 517-974-4966
Nurses report alarming rates of preventable harm in Michigan hospitals
Independent survey reveals 86% of RNs say patient care is suffering because they are assigned too many patients; 22% report patient death directly linked to unsafe assignments
Michigan’s Registered Nurses are frequently forced to care for too many patients at once, and patients are being harmed as a result, according to a new independent survey that is the first of its kind ever done in Michigan.
Nearly 9-in-10 (86%) of RNs said patient care is suffering because they are assigned too many patients. Half (50%) of the Registered Nurses surveyed said they have an unsafe number of patients on at least half their shifts.
“We should pay attention when Registered Nurses are telling us there’s a problem with hospital safety, because they are the ones who provide most of the patient care,” said state Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan). “I hope this survey helps spark a public conversation about making sure every hospital provides proper nursing care. Protecting patients from harm should be a concern for all of us, on both sides of the aisle, no matter where you live.”
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Contact: Sara Wallenfang, 517-974-4966
MI Voters: Lack of Limits on Nurses’ Workloads is Hurting Patient Care in Hospitals
Bipartisan effort renews push for law to establish minimum RN staffin
By an overwhelming margin, voters want their legislators to improve care in Michigan hospitals by establishing a law that sets minimum nurse staffing levels, according to a new poll that is the first of its kind in the state.
“Michigan residents are saying loud and clear that our registered nurses are being being forced to care for too many patients at once,” said Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo), House sponsor of the Safe Patient Care Act. “Chronic nurse understaffing jeopardizes the care and safety of people in our hospitals every day. The only real solution is to pass a law that gives nurses enough time to spend with each patient and provide individualized care.”
There is currently no law that requires hospitals to have a certain number of nurses working at any given time. The Safe Patient Care Act, which will soon be introduced in the House by Hoadley and in the Senate by Sen. Rebekah Warren, requires minimum RN staffing in hospitals and curbs the rampant use of mandatory overtime. It has bipartisan support in both chambers.