PRESS RELEASE: SB 227 Author Senator Leyva, Speaker Rendon, Legislators Join Nurses to Demand Safety for Hospital Patients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2019

CONTACTS:
Terry Carter
(805) 312-0024

Jenna Thompson
(916) 444-7280

SB 227 Author Senator Leyva, Speaker Rendon, Legislators Join Nurses to Demand Safety for Hospital Patient…

Patients suffer when hospitals ignore the law.

Sacramento, CA—Speaker Anthony Rendon and state legislators—including bill author Senator Connie M. Leyva (D–Chino)—joined California Nurses today, members of SEIU Local 121RN, along with members of SEIU Local 721 and the Committee of Interns & Residents. They called for Governor Newsom’s signature on SB 227 (Leyva), a bill to curb unsafe staffing of hospitals that puts patients at risk. (Visit bit.ly/SB227News for news coverage on this bill.)

Senator Leyva introduced SB 227 in February in response to Nurses calling for an end to California hospitals’ unsafe staffing practices. While California leads the nation in regulations that establish safe nurse-to-patient ratios, those regulations are simply paper—there is no enforcement mechanism. Nurses report rampant, repeat offenses and say their patients remain at risk and Nurses endure costly injuries and burnout. SB 227 will mandate unannounced hospital inspections to ensure they comply with the laws protecting patients and levy penalties on hospitals that continue to ignore these requirements.

The bill passed the Assembly September 3 and is now on Governor Newsom’s desk.

SB 227 is co-sponsored by SEIU Local 121RN, SEIU California State Council and United Nurses Associations of California / Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC / UHCP). Visit bit.ly/SB227_list for a full list of SB 227’s co-authors and supporters.

After their press conference on the North Steps of the State Capitol, nurses placed scores of nursing shoes on the Capitol steps. The symbolic action was a recreation of the action nurses took 20 years ago when calling for adoption of first-of-their-kind safe staffing standards. The shoes represent an appeal to California leaders to “walk a day” in Nurses’ shoes in order to fully understand why the patient safety law must be enforced.

“In our rapidly changing healthcare world, California’s Nurses continue to make patient safety our number one priority, including this proposed legislation to create a strong enforcement mechanism for existing state regulations,” said SEIU Local 121RN President Gayle Batiste, RN, CNOR at Northridge Hospital Medical Center. “Nurses are determined to stop hospitals from treating these regulations as ‘recommendations’ or ‘guidelines.’ They are not recommendations. They are bare minimums.”

“As a family medicine physician, I work through every part of the hospital system, from ER admissions to inpatient care to safe discharge procedures. I not only expect, but rely on the hospital to be equipped to care for each patient based on the level of medical attention they require,” said Committee of Interns and Residents National Secretary-Treasurer Linda Alvarez, MD. “And yet our hospitals too often don’t have enough Nurses and support staff on our floors. We take our Hippocratic oath seriously. We expect our hospitals to do the same, or at the very least obey the law.”

RNs—who refer to SB 227 as the “Stop Repeat Offender Hospitals” bill—say they’re more committed than ever to push against the false narrative and aggressive lobbying that hospital administrators are engaged in, spreading the myth that their hospitals don’t have poor staffing. SEIU Local 121RN nurses—like bit.ly/KathyRN, bit.ly/Joyce_RN, bit.ly/MoniqueRN, bit.ly/AlvinRN, bit.ly/YolandaRN, bit.ly/SallyRN, bit.ly/MaryRN and bit.ly/JenniferRN—reveal a very different and dangerous reality.

Currently…

  • California leads the nation with its groundbreaking regulations (see bit.ly/Title22Ratios) protecting patients and Registered Nurses—but, the enforcement of those regulations is virtually nonexistent, rendering them meaningless in too many hospitals.
  • Unlike long-term care facilities and other healthcare settings, hospitals face no financial penalties for violating staffing ratios.
  • A penalty only kicks in when it’s too late: a violation caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury or death to a patient.
  • If there is no serious injury or death, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) simply requests that hospitals submit a “plan of correction” (which many hospitals copy/paste from their last submitted plan).
  • CDPH testified in 2013 that it does not routinely follow up on hospitals’ plans of corrections.
  • Nurse-to-patient ratio laws have gone two decades without any enforcement mechanism to curb repeat offenders.

 

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SEIU Local 121RN represents registered nurses and other healthcare professionals in California. This member-led organization is committed to supporting optimum working conditions that allow nurses to provide quality patient care and safety.

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