Senator Barbara Boxer of California has introduced a bill to establish minimum nurse-to-patient rations nationwide. The National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act (S. 739) aims to address the country’s shortage of nurses and ensure that hospitals are properly staffed to care for their patients.
The bill, which would apply to hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid, would allow the government to fine hospitals as much as $25,000 for each knowing breach of minimum nurse staffing levels and allows for exemptions during emergencies.
S. 739 would require hospitals to have one nurse for every single patient in an operating room, one nurse for every two patients in critical care, and one nurse for every five patients in a skilled nursing facility. The bill does not allow hospitals to “average” the number of patients-to-nurses or to mandate overtime to meet the requirements.
The text of the proposed legislation can be found here:
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