Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Leyva bill improving hospital patient safety passes Senate

SACRAMENTO – The California State Senate has passed important legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that will protect patient safety and reinforce nurse staffing ratio requirements.

In order to enhance hospital patient safety, Senate Bill 227 empowers the California Department of Public Health, or CDPH, to enforce the nurse staffing ratios by fining hospitals that repeatedly create unsafe conditions for patient care.

The proposal would require CDPH to conduct unannounced visits to hospitals to inspect for compliance with nurse staffing requirements.

In 1999, Gov. Gray Davis signed into law Assembly Bill 394, the nation’s first law mandating nurse-to-patient ratios in California.

Regulations implementing AB 394 went into effect in 2004, which set the minimum ratio of nurses to patient by unit, including one-to-one in operating rooms and one-to-five in general medical-surgical units.

These ratios, enforced by CDPH, are outlined in Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations. Though these ratios are mandated by law, hospitals repeatedly violate staffing requirements. From 2008 to 2017, there were 634 out-of-ratio deficiencies reported to CDPH.

“SB 227 will ensure that hospitals that continually choose to provide inadequate staffing levels for patient care are held accountable,” Senator Leyva said. “Patients can be seriously injured or even die when hospitals violate the nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. I appreciate the Senate’s approval of SB 227 that prioritizes the safety of patients by making sure hospitals comply with existing state law.”

Following approval by the Senate, SB 227 now advances to the Assembly for consideration.

The measure is co-sponsored by SEIU California, SEIU Local 121RN and United Nurses Associations of California / Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC / UHCP) and supported by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, California Labor Federation, California Nurses Association / National Nurses United, California Professional Firefighters, California School Employees Association, California School Nurses Organization, California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, Congress of California Seniors, Consumer Attorneys of California, Engineers and Scientists of California / Local 20, International Longshore and Warehouse Union / Local 13 and San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

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