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Every patient needs safe care, but without the right staffing and with a lack of rest and meal breaks, nurses and healthcare workers provide care in unsafe conditions. That’s why we’re working with lawmakers to strengthen protections for us and our patients.

The House has passed a bill that will ensure that our hospital staffing committees are a stronger entity within the hospital, and requires that the adopted staffing plan actually be implemented. If management fails to do so we will now have a remedy to hold them accountable.

Important measures of this bill:

  • Requires the committee to consider how to enable meal and rest breaks
  • Requires the CEO to explain changes from staffing committee plans and file the plans with the Department of Health
  • Employees can report to committee if staffing is not in accordance with the plan
  • Other job classes can be advocated for in staffing plans if not in the collective bargaining agreement
  • Shift-to-shift adjustments must consult with front line nurses
  • Mandatory investigation by DOH if there is a complaint
  • Requires corrective action plan from the hospital
  • If not in compliance, the hospital is assessed a daily fine until staffing is corrected

This bill, which has bipartisan support in the Legislature, is an important step in our ongoing work to improve staffing and work towards strengthened laws that ensure nurses can provide safe care. We will continue working on our long-term vision to win safe staffing ratios to protect our patients, and this advance through this amended bill represents a step forward to hold our hospitals accountable. Now this bill goes to the Senate; urge your Senator to support the patient safety bill HB 1714.

Moving forward, we need legislators who understand our work and will support our long term vision for safe staffing and patient ratios. The election for our state’s open Senate seat this fall will determine the future makeup of the Senate, and as healthcare workers we’ll need to work in our communities to ensure we elect someone who will stand with us.

“This bills a step forward to strengthen our staffing committees and hold management accountable to the safest staffing for our patients. We will continue to fight for regulatory change, legislative, and ratios that keep our patients safe.” – Chris Barton, RN, Director of the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Nurse Alliance

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