Support Bill S.1567/H.R.3165 to Enact Mandatory Safe Nurse to Patient Ratios & Reject Proposed Salary Caps
On January 24, 2022, nearly two years since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO, two members of congress along with more than 200 supporters sent a letter to the White House with the intent to financially protect hospitals from nurse-staffing agencies during this unprecedented time, citing price-gouging.
The existing nursing shortage has only been exacerbated by poor working conditions, absence of hazard pay, unsafe nurse to patient ratios, and lack of acceptable PPE over the last two years. In response to overwhelming demand, nurses pursued employment as travelers through nurse-staffing agencies in order to achieve proper compensation for their work. Hospitals would rather pay travel nurses at crisis rates rather than support their permanent staff by increasing wages and/or benefits to encourage retention.
While the letter states that the intended target is nurse-staffing agencies, ultimately the only group that stands to benefit are the hospital executives already making millions off the work of front-line healthcare staff. Not nurses. Not patients. If nurse-staffing agency profits are restricted, they will make up the difference by capping travel nurse salaries which would only further exacerbate the exodus of nurses from the bedside and profession.
As nurses, we have a duty to care for both our patients and ourselves. Financial profits for hospital executives and patient/nurse safety are in direct opposition.
(S.1567/H.R.3165) Nurse Staffing Standards for Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2021 is a bill that will directly enhance patient safety by mandating nurse patient ratios, providing scholarship opportunities, and expanding the nurse retention grant program.
The United States healthcare system is careening towards collapse as nurses continue to leave the profession. As of November 16th 2021, 1 in 5 healthcare workers left their job since the start of the pandemic. This problem will not go away by further prioritizing hospital profits over worker and patient safety. As hospitals are forced to cancel elective surgeries due to staffing, patients have no choice but to delay their medical care. For every extra patient on a nurse's caseload, a patient's risk of dying increased by 7%.
Please support Bill S.1567/H.R.3165 and oppose the proposed legislation by Peter Welch and H. Morgan Griffith.
Safe staffing saves lives.