Nurses applaud House Health Policy Committee hearing on Safe Patient Care Act

Lansing, MI – In response to the Michigan House Health Policy Committee announcing a hearing to be held Thursday on the Safe Patient Care Act, Jamie Brown, RN, a critical care nurse and president of the Michigan Nurses Association, put out the following statement:

“For years, frontline nurses have been sounding the alarm about the decisions that hospital executives have been making in our hospitals. Now, nurses will be able to testify before lawmakers to share our experiences. It is vital that our elected officials listen to the frontline nurses who have been pleading for change. It is no surprise that executives and corporate interests are fighting tooth and nail against accountability for hospitals. We need the Safe Patient Care Act to become law so that we can save lives and address the nurse retention crisis.”

The Safe Patient Care Act (House bills 4550-4552) is a bipartisan legislative plan to set safe limits on the number of patients nurses can be assigned, curb excessive mandatory nurse overtime, and require hospitals to disclose their RN staffing levels.

Polling shows that 93% of Michigan registered nurses support the bills.

Research has shown that California has better staffing levels than other states since passing this law and as well as better health outcomes than numerous other states – including Michigan. Forty-two percent of licensed nurses in Michigan reported in a January poll that they know of a patient who has died due to unsafe staffing levels, nearly double the number from 2016.

There is not a shortage of available nurses in Michigan; more than one-third of RNs with active Michigan licenses are choosing to not work as nurses, according to government data. Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) reported that there are 154,758 RNs with active Michigan licenses as of January. Yet only 102,480 people are employed as RNs in the state of Michigan, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In polling, a majority of RNs say that they would stay in or return to direct care if the Safe Patient Care Act were passed.

The hearing will be held in Room 519 of the House Office Building in Lansing, Michigan, on Thursday, November 9, at 10:30AM. Frontline nurses from across the state will be in attendance to show support for the legislative package as well as testifying.

The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest and most effective union for registered nurses and healthcare professionals in Michigan. MNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United and the AFL-CIO.

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Contact: Amelia Dornbush, 517-896-7478

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