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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 6, 2015 10:19 AM
From: Representative Gene DiGirolamo and Rep. Adam Ravenstahl
To: All House members
Subject: Nurse to patient staffing ratios in Pennsylvania Hospitals

We will soon introduce legislation to set minimum staffing ratios of registered nurses to patients in Pennsylvania hospitals.

Compelling evidence reveals that increased RN-to-patient staffing ratios dramatically improve patient safety and also reduce costs to hospitals. Our bill sets specific RN-to-patient ratios for various hospital units based on the nature of care provided. For example, a neo-natal intensive care unit would have a 1:2 RN-to-patient minimum ratio while a pre-surgical unit would have a 1:4 minimum ratio.

Statistics show that patients cared for in hospitals with higher RN staffing levels are far less likely to acquire preventable infections. And not only do preventing these infections and other medical errors reduce loss of life, but they could also reduce health care costs and go a long way to keep dedicated registered nurses in the profession rather than causing burnout.

In short, our bill would improve patient safety, reduce medical malpractice claims, and avoid unnecessary, uncompensated care while also helping to improve standards for patients and nurses in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as HB1426