Oregon lawmakers approve minimum staffing mandate for hospitals

The Oregon Senate agreed with its House and passed HB2697, a minimum staffing mandate for hospital workers, on June 22. 

The bill would require hospitals to create staffing committees for professional, technical, service and nursing staff in order to develop staffing plans. The nurse staffing committee would establish minimum nurse-to-patient ratios and impose penalties on hospitals that do not comply. It would also establish a mechanism for hospital employees or their representatives to seek enforcement of meal breaks and rest periods from the Bureau of Labor and Industries. 

HB2697 has been backed by the Oregon Nurses Association. Nurses across the state have alleged unsafe staffing conditions, leading to unfair labor practice charges and strikes at some health systems. 

"We are very excited about the opportunities for all the workers who make up the care team to have a clear and resounding voice in hospital staffing. New committees for techs like respiratory therapists, imaging, dietary and environmental services workers and many others will now have a voice in safe patient care," said Meg Niemi, SEIU Local 49 president, in a March 28 news release. "And our union is excited to be the first in the nation with a ratio for certified nursing assistants in hospitals. This is one step in the workforce transformation that is needed, and we look forward to working together to create more opportunities."

If signed into law by the governor, the mandate would declare an emergency and go into effect Sept. 1. 

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


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars