• April 17th, 2016

National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act

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Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to require each Medicare participating hospital to implement a hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services furnished in the hospital.

Requires the plan to require that an appropriate number of registered nurses provide direct patient care in each unit and on each shift of the hospital to ensure staffing levels that: (1) address the unique characteristics of the patients and hospital units; and (2) result in the delivery of safe, quality patient care consistent with specified requirements.

Requires each participating hospital to establish a hospital nurse staffing committee which shall implement such plan.

Specifies civil monetary and other penalties for violation of the requirements of this Act.

Sets forth whistleblower protections against discrimination and retaliation involving patients or employees of the hospital for their grievances, complaints, or involvement in investigations relating to such plan.

Summary: S.864 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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There is one summary for S.864. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.
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Introduced in Senate (03/25/2015)

National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act

Amends the Public Health Service Act to require hospitals to implement and submit to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a staffing plan that complies with specified minimum nurse-to-patient ratios by unit. Requires HHS to develop a transparent method for establishing nurse staffing requirements above minimum ratios.

Directs HHS to adjust Medicare payments to hospitals to cover additional costs incurred in providing services to Medicare beneficiaries that are attributable to compliance with such ratios.

Gives nurses the right to act as the patient’s advocate by initiating action to improve health care and by giving the patient an opportunity to make informed health care decisions. Allows a nurse to object to, or refuse to participate in, any assignment if it would violate minimum ratios or if the nurse is not prepared by education or experience to fulfill the assignment without compromising the safety of a patient or jeopardizing the nurse’s license. Prohibits a hospital from: (1) taking specified actions against a nurse based on the nurse’s refusal to accept an assignment for such a reason; or (2) discriminating against any individual for good faith complaints relating to the care, services, or conditions of the hospital or of any related facilities.

Adds stipends to the nurse workforce loan repayment and scholarship program. Expands the nurse retention grant program to authorize programs to implement nurse preceptorship and mentorship projects.

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