Patient Lifting Measure on Governor’s Desk for 4th Try
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is considering a bill (SB 171) that would require hospitals to use specified equipment for lifting and transferring patients to help ensure safety and reduce nurse injuries, the Oakland Tribune reports. Over the last three years, Schwarzenegger has vetoed similar legislation.
The California Nurses Association sponsored the measure, authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland).
Under the legislation, hospitals would be required to purchase specialized lift equipment and maintain teams trained in lifting, shifting and transferring patients.
Donna Gerber, director of government relations for CNA, said the bill "is one of the more prominent labor issues we're dealing with." She added, "It isn't often that we have a bill that helps nurses, helps patients and saves employers tons of money."
Between 2000 and 2004, 31 hospitals, which replaced manual lifting with mechanical lifting and other devices, decreased overall patient-handling injury claims by 43%, according to a study last year by William Charney, a health care consultant.
CNA amended the current version of the bill to allow hospitals to design their own program for adopting the requirements.
Jan Emerson -- spokesperson for the California Hospital Association, a main opponent of the legislation -- argued that state labor laws already require "an injury-and-prevention program" in all industries. She added, "So for hospitals, safe lift policies are inherent" (Bohan, Oakland Tribune, 9/20).