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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Safe Nurse Staffing for Quality Care Act

HB 344: Safe Nurse Staffing for Quality Care Act

Synopsis: Requiring a hospital to ensure direct care nursing staff meet the individual care needs of patients; requiring each hospital to annually submit to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene a nurse staffing plan and a certification of the plan; requiring the staffing plan to meet specified requirements; providing that a staffing plan may not incorporate or assume that functions are to be performed by personnel who are not direct care nurses; requiring the staffing plan to incorporate specified ratios; etc.

Sponsors from Prince George's County:
Comment: I can't help wondering how much thought these delegates have given to the possible unintended consequences of this bill. For example:
  • If their goal is to increase the number of nurses working in hospitals, and the hospitals actually hire more nurses, health costs will go up, most likely harming the people least able to afford the increased costs
  • And if the hospitals cannot or will not hire more nurses, then one or both of two things will happen
    • Some patients will get better nursing care while others get no care. or
    • The law will be ignored and essentially unenforceable, and will contribute the the public's growing sense of contempt both for well-intentioned but poorly thought out laws and for the people who pass them.

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