PA 15-91—SB 855

Public Health Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING REPORTS OF NURSE STAFFING LEVELS

SUMMARY: This act requires hospitals to report annually to the Department of Public Health (DPH) on their prospective nurse staffing plans, rather than make the plans available to DPH upon request as prior law required. 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 act requires the DPH commissioner to annually report, beginning by January 1, 2016, to the Public Health Committee on hospital compliance with nurse staffing plan reporting requirements and recommendations for any additional reporting requirements.

The act also requires certain health care employers to report to DPH annually, rather than upon the department's request, on the number of workplace violence incidents occurring on the employer's premises and the specific area or department where they occurred. The first report is due by January 1, 2016, and the reports must cover incidents occurring in the prior year.

For this purpose, a “health care employer” is any DPH-licensed institution (e. g. , a hospital or nursing home) with at least 50 full- or part-time employees. It includes (1) facilities that care for or treat people with substance abuse issues or mental illness, (2) Department of Developmental Services-licensed residential facilities for people with intellectual disability, and (3) community health centers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015, except the workplace violence provisions are effective October 1, 2015.

PROSPECTIVE NURSE STAFFING PLANS

In addition to the information already required by law, the act requires hospital nurse staffing 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, reported by patient care units;

2. the hospital's method for determining and adjusting direct patient care staffing levels; and

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

Under the act, plans developed and implemented after January 1, 2017 also must include (1) a description of any differences between the plan's staffing levels and actual staffing levels for each patient care unit and (2) the hospital's intended actions, if any, to address these differences or adjust staffing levels in future plans.

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