COLUMBUS– State Reps. Michael J. Skindell (D- Lakewood) and Catherine D. Ingram (D-Cincinnati) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 637, legislation designed to increase patient safety by setting limits on the number of patients a registered nurse (RN) may care for at one time. The RN-to-patient ratio requirements will be based on the seriousness of the condition being treated or the medical procedure in which the respective patient is undergoing.
This legislation was previously introduced as HB 629 in the 133rd GA and also SB 55 in the 132nd GA. HB 637 requires a minimum, numerical nurse-to-patient ratio with a requirement that additional nurses be added when needed. There are several critical settings where the requirement would be one nurse to one patient including the operating room, a trauma, critical care patient and an unstable newborn or one in a resuscitation period.
“Studies have shown that safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios save lives,” said Rep. Skindell. “These policies will help ensure that patients get the best medical care based on need and will provide nurses with safeguards to ensure that they are protected from retaliation for whistleblowing and refusals to follow potential violations of the law. Genuine and enforceable safe-staffing standards will save money and lives by ensuring that patients obtain excellent nursing care.”
“The wellbeing of our essential responders is crucial to ensuring patients receive the best medical care,” said Rep. Ingram. “This legislation still allows flexibility to consider the wellbeing of our nurses as well as the institution.”
HB 637 now awaits assignment to a House Committee.