The CEO in favor of nurse staffing legislation

In a break from most hospitals' stance on mandating staffing standards, Penn Medicine is urging state legislators to pass a bill that would require hospitals to follow minimum nurse-to-patient ratios. 

On June 28, the Pennsylvania House approved House Bill 106. The Patient Safety Act sets limits on the number of patients nurses can be assigned in different units. For example, intensive care unit nurses would be assigned no more than two patients at a time. The legislation now heads to the state Senate. 

Kevin Mahoney, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, based in Philadelphia, expressed support for the legislation in an opinion piece published July 9 in Penn Live.

"As CEO of Pennsylvania's leading health system and as a leading nurse staffing researcher, we believe safe staffing standards will help to relieve nurse burnout, improve care for patients and create better work environments to attract and retain dedicated frontline caregivers," Mr. Mahoney wrote. "Pennsylvania should implement evidence-based staffing standards." 

Mr. Mahoney co-authored the article with Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, founding director of Penn Nursing's center for health outcomes and policy research. While "no piece of legislation is a perfect solution" for burnout or staffing issues, staffing ratios are a part of evidence-based medicine, the leaders said. In addition to studies indicating nurse-to-patient ratios have positive effects on patient outcomes, they cited research linking better staffing to significantly less burnout and turnover, as well as surveys indicating patients' support for staffing standards. 

"Opposition to the Patient Safety Act has frequently hinged on whether hospitals could comply, especially as the entire industry is under significant financial strain. These concerns are valid and well-meaning, and efforts to apply safe staffing standards should be coupled with initiatives to strengthen Pennsylvania's nursing workforce and ensure the long-term sustainability of hospital care in our communities," Mr. Mahoney and Dr. Aiken wrote. 

Mr. Mahoney also made headlines in late June when he announced Penn Medicine would stop submitting data to the U.S. News & World Report "Best Hospital" rankings. 

"We had simply had enough with a for-profit, external ranking that really was not advancing our core mission," Mr. Mahoney told Becker's at the time. Read more of that story here

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars