HARRISBURG – At a Capitol press conference surrounded by nurses, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) today unveiled his legislation to set safe nurse-to-patient limits in Pennsylvania hospitals.
“This legislation is critically important to patient safety,” DiGirolamo said. “A 2015 Joint State Government Commission study showed a clear relationship between nurse staffing and patient outcomes. Nurses many times are the unsung heroes whose significant work is underappreciated, but greatly affects patient outcomes.”
House Bill 867
would set minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in Pennsylvania hospitals dependent upon the nature of the unit. For example, a neonatal intensive care unit would have a much lower ratio at 1:2, compared to a pre-surgical unit, which would have a ratio of 1:4. A number of states have some form of a nurse safe staffing law.
Current Pennsylvania law states that “a sufficient number of registered professional nurses shall be on duty at all times to plan, assign, supervise, and evaluate nursing care, as well as to give patients such nursing care as requires the judgment and specialized skills of a registered nurse.”
“While the language of the current law sounds good, in reality nurse-to-patient ratios at Pennsylvania hospitals vary widely,” DiGirolamo said. “My legislation will give reassurance to those seeking treatment for themselves or a loved one that their nurse will not be overburdened during a shift and be able to provide quality care.”
The bill has been referred to the House Health Committee.
Representative Gene DiGirolamo
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton