OLR Bill Analysis

SB 855

AN ACT CONCERNING REPORTS OF NURSE STAFFING LEVELS.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires hospitals to report annually to the Department of Public Health (DPH) on their prospective nurse staffing plans, rather than making the plans available to DPH upon request. It expands, in two stages, the information that must be included in the plans, such as the (1) ratio of patients to certain nursing staff and (2) differences between the prospective staffing levels and actual levels.

The bill also requires the DPH commissioner to annually report, beginning January 1, 2016, to the Public Health Committee on the effectiveness of hospital staffing plans, hospital compliance with staffing plan reporting requirements, and recommendations for any additional reporting requirements.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

PROSPECTIVE NURSE STAFFING PLANS

In addition to the information currently required by law (see BACKGROUND), the bill requires plans developed and implemented after January 1, 2016 to include:

1. the number of direct patient care staff in three categories (registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and assistive personnel) and the ratio of patients to each category, with information for the latter two categories reported by patient care units;

2. the hospital's method to determine and adjust direct patient care staffing levels; and

3. a description of supporting personnel assisting on each patient care unit.

In addition, plans developed and implemented after January 1, 2017 must include:

1. a description of any differences between the plan's staffing levels and actual staffing levels for each patient care unit (presumably for the prior year) and

2. any actions the hospital intends to take to address these differences or adjust staffing levels in future plans.

BACKGROUND

Prospective Nurse Staffing Plans

By law, when submitting its prospective nurse staffing plan to DPH, a hospital must certify that the plan is sufficient to provide adequate and appropriate health care services in the ensuing hospital licensure period. The plan must promote collaborative practice in the hospital that improves patient care and the level of services that nurses and other hospital patient care team members provide. The law specifies certain information that must be included in the plan.

Under existing law, the plans must:

1. include the minimum professional skill mix for each patient care unit;

2. identify the hospital's employment practices for temporary and traveling nurses;

3. establish the level of administrative staffing in each patient care unit that ensures that direct care staff are not used for administrative functions;

4. describe the hospital's process for internal review of the plan; and

5. include the hospital's method for involving its direct care staff in developing the plan (CGS 19a-89e).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Health Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

20

Nay

6

(03/04/2015)