NURSES: Op-Ed Argues for Minimum Staffing Level Bill
Nurse Anne Kachelhoffer writes in a Bakersfield Californian op-ed that hospitals in Bakersfield and Kern County "have become time bombs" as an "escalating crisis in nursing care puts patients at risk." She touts California Nurses Association-backed AB 394, which would require minimum nurse staffing levels at hospitals, noting that "California ranks last in the nation" in average nurse-to-patient ratios. She blames managed care cutbacks for forcing fewer nurses to care for sicker patients, and more of them, and argues there is a clear link between "nursing care and improved patient outcomes." Kachelhoffer writes, "Today's nursing shortage follows a decade of failed downsizing policies ... There are enough licensed nurses, but many have left hospital nursing, frustrated with intolerable conditions that jeopardize the nurses and patients alike. AB 394 would reverse the downward slide, encourag[ing] nurses to stay in or return to hospital settings." She concludes, "The HMOs and hospitals will not police themselves. Minimum measures like AB 394 are essential to assure the public protection all patients deserve." The measure has already passed the state Assembly (6/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.