Healthcare In Need Of Resuscitation

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Federal, Healthcare, NLRB, States, Strikes

Three years of a pandemic-fueled staffing crisis in the healthcare industry could take a turn, although whether that turn will be successful is an altogether different matter. Given the mass exodus of healthcare professionals from the field, the solution may not be as simple as forcing hospitals’ hands with legislation, but we’ll see how it goes.

Federal lawmakers are again seeking to establish mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in U.S. hospitals. Democratic lawmakers Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Jan Schakowsky reintroduced their applicable 2021 bill, referred to as the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act, with support from three unions including National Nurses United. The bill would task hospitals with maintaining minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in a manner modeled after California’s existing law.

The same effort continues at the state level, where Washington lawmakers recently passed a staffing bill that awaits the governor’s signature but will establish prescribed staffing levels and safety standards for workers. And in Oregon, a similar bill hopes to go further in establishing specific statutory ratios for nurses and nursing assistants. If those ratios are not met, financial penalties would begin in 2025.

More significant healthcare developments from this month:

  • Across the U.S.: Workers at 30 Hospital Corporation of America facilities rallied to raise awareness for safer staffing practices.
  • Texas: Nurses at Austin’s Ascension Seton Medical Center, where National Nurses United scooped up 900 members in 2022, picketed staffing levels.
  • Illinois: Workers at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital protested working conditions while the SEIU claimed that 29% of the facility’s employees quit their jobs over the past year.
  • California: National Nurses United members at Oceanside’s Tri-City Medical Center are decrying plans to shut down OB-GYN services, including labor and delivery.
  • New York: 300 grad students at Mount Sinai’s Icahn Graduate School Of Medicine are organizing in hopes of joining the UAW.
  • Wisconsin: 2,600 nurses at three University of Wisconsin Health hospitals seek voluntary union recognition, which has so far not been forthcoming.
  • Colorado: An NLRB judge ruled that Centura Hospital must compensate 200 nurses for “lost pay and benefits” that the facility illegally withheld from members of National Nurses United.
  • Missouri: The NLRB determined that a nursing home did not illegally fire five union organizers, some of whom were caught “sleeping on the job.”
  • United Kingdom: A planned health worker strike in Northern Ireland has been called off following a series of pickets, which led to the secretary of state agreeing to hold further talks on pay rates.

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