It was standing room only at the special “Listening Session” held by the Health Policy Commission today on the new law that sets safe patient limits for nurses working in all hospital intensive care units. The session was focused on helping the Commission formulate regulations for the law, including the acuity criteria to be incorporated in hospital specific acuity tools to assist nurses in determining if and when they can take a second patient; the method of public reporting of hospital staffing compliance; and the identification of three to five patient safety quality indicators to be measured and reported by hospitals under the new law, which went into effect on Sept. 28.
Dozens of front line nurses from intensive care units throughout the Commonwealth were on hand, along with MNA/NNU leadership to present compelling testimony to the Commission on all factors being considered by the Commission, with a focus on detailing specific clinical and environmental factors that must be included in an effective acuity tool. The nurses present make a compelling case for the a comprehensive acuity tool with specific tools developed for adult, pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, and all the testimony referenced the intent of the law, which it is the staff nurses on the unit, not hospital administrators or supervisors, who make the final call as to if and when it is safe to assign a nurse a second patient.
Below we have provided the key testimony submitted by MNA/NNU at the hearing: