ST. PAUL, Minn. – Senator Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) has responded to nurses’ concerns by introducing the Standards of Care Act in the 2013 legislative session to ensure the safety of hospital patients in Minnesota. Joined by the House author, Rep. Joe Atkins and the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) President Linda Hamilton, Sen. Hayden discussed the importance of the legislation in a Capitol press conference.
“This legislation puts the decision at the bedside not the capitol,” said Sen. Hayden. “Study after study shows proper staffing levels lowers health care costs. Other states that have implemented and or studied staffing standards report that the probability of deaths drops by double digits.”
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.
“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.”
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.