Senator Hayden Announces Patient Safety Act with MN Nurses
On Tuesday, State Senator Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) along with State Representative Larry Howes (R-Walker) and Minnesota nurses, announced the “2012 Staffing for Patient Safety Act.” Hayden and Walker authored the bipartisan legislation amid growing concern for patient safety in understaffed hospitals.
The legislation sets a maximum patient assignment for Registered Nurses dependent upon factors like nursing intensity and patient acuity. It would require hospital administrators to work with nurses to ensure adequate resources and would bring transparency to the staffing process.
Hayden, whose South Minneapolis district includes Abbott-Northwestern and Children’s Hospital, said, “Until nurses have the authority to access more staff when necessary to meet their professional responsibilities, we need to statutorily set patient assignment limits.”
Minnesota Nurses Association President Linda Hamilton, RN, stated, “I am proud that Senator Hayden is standing with nurses as we continue to fight for quality patient care. These are people at their most vulnerable and we need advocates like Sen Hayden at our side.”
The Minnesota Nurses Association notes that national statistics prove a connection between RN staffing levels and patient safety. In hospitals with inadequate staffing, patients could be:
· up to 25 percent more likely to die.
· 50 percent more likely to die when facing certain types of cancer surgery.
· 68 percent more likely to acquire a preventable infection.
· 53 percent more likely to suffer from respiratory failure.
In the last six months of 2011, MNA nurses documented nearly 1,000 cases where they felt patient safety was at risk due to inadequate staffing. In over 90 percent of the cases, the nurses determined that hospital management did not take the necessary steps to remedy the problem. Hayden and MNA believe this legislation will be a positive step toward improved patient safety.