Ohio Bill Aims at Decreasing Nurses' Patient Count

In 2015, the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) reported an alarming statistic: 25 percent of nurses state that the number of patient deaths is ‘directly attributable’ to nurse-patient ratio. In other words, nurses have too many patients to care for and patients are suffering because of it. Furthermore, 25 percent of the nurses in that same study also stated they would not feel comfortable admitting their own family members in their workplace.

According to the American Nursing Association (ANA), fourteen states currently address issues concerning the nurse-patient ratio, but some states have taken a more proactive approach to ensure patients receive more adequate care.

Ohio is one of seven states that require hospitals and other care facilities to have committees that manage staffing policies, but there are currently no policies in place that limit the amount of patients a nurse can look after. One registered Ohio nurse commented that this practice enables hospitals to ‘cut corners,’ where they are able to ‘put their bottom line over patient safety.’ Early last week in Columbus, however, elected officials came together with the National Nurses Organizing Committee to discuss the Ohio Patient Protection Act, an act that would counter this dangerous practice.

The Ohio Patient Protection Act, modeled after a California law, would protect and save the lives of patients by implementing a more efficient and safe staffing process. The bill would place limits on the nurse-patient ratio, improve the quality of care and help prevent nurses from becoming burnt out on the job.

Rhonda Risner, a registered nurse at Dayton VA Medical Center, is an advocate for the bill. “Studies have shown again and again that safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios save lives. The people of Ohio deserve — with the passage of the Ohio Patient Protection Act — the kind of focused care that nurses can only provide when hospital corporations are held accountable for staffing at safe levels.”

At our firm we see so many tragic outcomes that are the result of overburdened nurses. We support any efforts to prevent these tragedies and hold hospital corporations responsible for the deaths and shattered lives they cause.

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