FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 5, 2019
CONTACT: Terry Carter (805) 312-0024
Sacramento, CA—Nurses applaud legislators today for sending SB 227 to the Governor’s desk. The bill, authored by State Senator Connie M. Leyva (D–Chino), addresses California hospitals’ unsafe staffing levels by mandating unannounced inspections of hospitals with a special focus on adherence to California’s nurse-to-patient ratios as regulated by Title 22.
Nurses urge the Governor to sign the bill into law. Many will travel to Sacramento next week to continue speaking out.
Under the bill, authored by State Senator Connie M. Leyva (D–Chino), hospitals will face a financial penalty if they repeatedly break the state’s staffing law, which threatens patients’ lives and puts Nurses at risk of costly injury and burnout. (Click here for news coverage on this bill.)
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). Click here for a full list of SB 227’s co-authors and supporters.
California leads the nation in regulations protecting patients and Registered Nurses. The problem is that there’s no enforcement of those regulations. Nurses report that too many California hospitals ignore the laws that set minimum staffing levels in Emergency Rooms, Intensive Care Units, Labor & Delivery Floors and other patient care areas. This endangers patients, is an unnecessary stress on families, and puts nurses’ licenses and livelihoods at risk.
“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.”
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 Jennifer, Sally, Mary, Monique, Kathy, Joyce, Alvin and Yolanda—reveal a very different and dangerous reality.
- California leads the nation with its groundbreaking regulations 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.
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.