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House Passes Landmark Bill on RN Staffing and Patient Safety in Massachusetts Hospitals
Date:5/22/2008

Measure Calls for Safe Limits on Nurses' Patient Assignments, Prohibits Mandatory Overtime, and Includes Initiatives to Increase Nursing Faculty &

Nursing Scholarships

BOSTON, May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The state House of Representatives voted 115 - 35 today to approve a landmark bill to guarantee safe RN staffing in all Massachusetts hospitals. The measure calls upon the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to set safe limits on nurses' patient assignments, prohibits mandatory overtime, and includes initiatives to increase nursing faculty and nurse recruitment. The law, when enacted, will make Massachusetts only the second state in the nation to set safe staffing limits in hospitals.

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"We applaud the House of Representatives for its overwhelming vote in support of the Patient Safety Act," said John McCormack, the co-chair of The Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients, an alliance of more than 130 of the state's leading health care and patient advocacy groups. "When enacted, this law will improve the quality of care for all patients in our hospitals and save thousands of lives."

The "Patient Safety Act" will now move to the Senate for consideration. The bill responds to increased concern over quality care in Massachusetts hospitals, as well as to evidence linking disease and deaths to poor patient oversight caused by nurses being forced to care for too many patients at one time. In recent years, medical errors and hospital-acquired infections have soared. Numerous studies link the rise in hospital-acquired infections and other medical complications to understaffing of nurses. Most recently, a report published in the July issue of the journal Medical Care found that safe RN staffing levels could reduce hospital acquired infections by 68 percent.


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SOURCE The Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients
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