For several years nurses supporting safer staffing levels for patients at New Mexico hospitals have filed legislation based on the same concepts included in legislation the American Nurses Association (ANA) has supported in Washington.
The Patient Safe Staffing Act, which will be filed for the January through March (60-day) New Mexico State Legislative Session, also reflects the ANA supported measure currently before the United States Congress.
In a press statement in February of 2018, The American Nurses Association applauded the introduction of The Safe Staffing for Nurse and Patient Safety Act of 2018 in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, writing “The legislation requires Medicare-participating hospitals to form committees, comprised of at least 55 percent direct care nurses, to create and implement unit specific nurse-to-patient ratio staffing plans. This staffing approach will benefit patients, registered nurses (RNs) and hospitals by decreasing adverse health events, nurse turnover, and costly hospital readmissions.”
The New Mexico version Patient Safe Staffing Act would also establish staffing committees at hospitals (comprised of a majority of direct care nurses) which ” … would specify the minimum number of nurses and ancillary staff required for each shift on the unit based upon the level of intensity of care required by patients and the variability in the number of admissions, discharges and transfers under existing conditions … “
The president of the ANA has been clear in public statements that safe staffing is a primary building block for sound patient care.
ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.
“RN staffing makes a critical difference for patients and the quality of their care,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, in the ANA’s February press release.
“Appropriate nurse staffing keeps patients safe and protects them from preventable complications, even lowering the risk of death. Nursing care is like medication—we would never withhold a medication when we know its lifesaving effects. The Safe Staffing for Nurse and Patient Safety Act empowers direct care nurses to determine the unique and variable needs of their patients to ensure the safety and quality outcomes of care,” Cipriano went on to state.
The following is also from the February ANA press release issued about the national bill:
“Research has shown that adding RNs to unit staffing decisions can reduce the length of stay for hospital patients as well as the risk of adverse events, such as falls, injuries, infections and bleeding. Increasing the number of RNs can yield a cost savings of nearly $3 billion – the result of more than 4 million avoided extra hospital stays for adverse events – and lower costs from hospital readmissions.
“The Safe Staffing for Nurse and Patient Safety Act of 2018 not only considers the complexity and stability of patients, but also nurse experience, available technology, resources and unit workflow such as numbers of admission, discharges and transfers. To date, seven states have enacted safe staffing legislation using the committee approach: Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
“Addressing nurse staffing is a top priority for ANA. In addition to advocating for legislation at the state and federal levels, ANA leads multiple initiatives to achieve safe, appropriate nurse-to-patient staffing in all health care settings. This work underscores the importance of evidence-based staffing decisions, driven by nurses who understand the dynamic nature of patient care.”
If you are a nurse you know too well that we have waited too long to get this important legislation passed.
Join us by clicking on the button … Join The Patient Safe Staffing Coaltion
Click here for a link to the draft copy of the New Mexico Patient Safe Staffing Act of 2019.
Click here for a link to Congressional Bill: The Safe Staffing for Nurse and Patient Safety Act of 2018 – S. 2446.