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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 30, 2019 01:45 PM
From: Representative Jim Marshall
To: All House members
Subject: Direct Patient Care Workers in Hospitals
I plan on re-introducing legislation (HB 833 of last Session) that would bring transparency to the staffing of direct patient care workers in Pennsylvania hospitals. The non-partisan Joint State Government Commission published a report under the direction of HR 920 of 2014, studying the state of bedside nursing in Pennsylvania and outlining the adverse effects of short-staffing, including increased rates of hospital-acquired infections, re-admissions, and mortality. The report recommended the implementation of public reporting of hospital staffing in order to create a market-based incentive for hospitals to improve staffing, stating:

"These policies can motivate hospitals to increase staffing as they become more aware of their standing in terms of staffing compared to market competitors. The publicly reported data could also improve outcomes through the process of encouraging patients to select better-staffed providers by informing their choices. Finally, if more discerning nurses who provide higher quality care use the information to select places to work, outcomes may improve in the places deemed by nurses to be better places to work."

My bill would require the public reporting of staffing levels for Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), nursing assistants, and other unlicensed personnel responsible for direct patient care, as well as other key metrics, such as the number of patients under the care of a given nurse or direct care worker, that are indicative of quality of care and health outcomes.

Reports for each hospital would be compiled by the Department of Health and published online quarterly, so that consumers and direct care workers may easily access comparative information and make more informed choices on where to seek care or employment. By creating an environment for hospitals to compete for patients based on quality of care, transparency in staffing can help to bring cost-effective improvements to the healthcare in our communities. I invite you to join me in cosponsoring this legislation.

Thank you.

Introduced as HB784