Schakowsky bill would set nursing staff levels

Rep. Jan Schakowsky

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston introduced legislation to set federal minimum standards for nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals.

She says the bill would address increasing hospital mortality rates and preventable medical errors caused by nurse understaffing.

“Nurses are overworked and hospitals are understaffed, leading to disastrous results for patients everywhere,” said Schakowsky said.  “By creating a workplace in which nurses are asked to do the impossible, we drive nurses away and jeopardize the quality of patient care. The bill is a common-sense solution to improve the quality of patient care and address the nursing crisis in our hospitals.”

The Nurse Staffing Standards for Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2011 would require that hospitals work with their direct care nurses to develop safe staffing plans that meet but can exceed  minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios.  The legislation would provide whistleblower protection and give nurses the ability to speak out for enforcement of safe staffing standards.

The bill would also require the Department of Health and Human Services to consider staffing requirements for licensed practical nurses and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to recommend any changes in additional reimbursement needed due to the requirements of the bill.

Schakowsky says a recent study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found that  “when the nursing workload is high, nurses’ surveillance of patients is impaired, and the risk of adverse events increases.”

Other studies found that understaffing was a factor in one out of every four unexpected hospital deaths or injuries caused by errors and result in higher incidences of cardiac arrest, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and complications

The legislation is endorsed by the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of State, Country and Municipal Employees, the National Nurses United, the American Federation of Government Employees, the United Steelworkers, and the American Federation of Teachers.



Best representation money can buy

In the latest reporting period, Rep. Jan Schakowsky received $99,400 from healthcare professionals, as shown here: . In fact, the category “health professionals” constitutes Jan’s second-largest class of campaign contributors after only lawyers and law firms. By introducing legislation that would guarantee staffing levels for nurses, Rep. Schakowsky demonstrates once again that she provides the best representation money can buy.

Another union sponsored Schakowsky bill

Ask yourself - why do the unions care about nurse-to-patient levels in hospitals, most of which are not unionized?

I think I just answered my own question. Why of course, Schakowsky is again using her office to bully hospitals to unionize. That's why Schakowsky's legislation is endorsed by unions and not say, the AMA,  hospital, nurse or doctor industry groups.

 The unions a few years ago elicited the help of Schakowsky to pressure Evanston's St. Francis to unionize by claiming the hospital didn't provide enough charity care to justify it's non-profit statuts. So Schakowsky convinced the Evanston City Council to placea voter referendum to strip St. Francis' non-profit status.

Schakowsky used her office and campaign war chest to send out robo calls and fliers, urging Evanston voters to take away St. Francis' non-profit status. Thankfully Evanston voters saw through the charade and voted in favor of St. Francis.

Schakowsky is on record saying she wants to put private healthcare industry out of business. Five of the top 10 Illinois businesses are private health insurance companies.  

Folks, the primary reason why our local and state taxes went up last year during these difficult economic times was to pay for unsustainable union pensions, which is bankrupting this state.

Even on the local level, Evanston Township Assessor, Bonnie Wilson, a former leader of the Evanston Democrat party, has applied for a pension, though she works part-time. Our aldermen, all Democrats, are exploring the possibility of getting a pension for themselves rather than passing an ordinance clearly stating part-time employees including aldermen and the township assessor do not qualify for a pension.

Schakowsky and many Democrats care more about the unions than taxpayers.  It's clear to me that the Democrat party is an arm of the unions and no longer represents the interests of taxpayers.      

Staffing Levels

Having suffered a serious heart attack which resulted in an extended hospital stay, I strongly support the legislation introduced by Congresswoman Schakowsky as an important step in improving the delivery of quality health care.

Ted L. Loda

Substandard care?

Did you have substandard care?

My father just went thru very major surgery, 2 weeks in the hospital, 6 weeks in a rehab center.  At no time ever was there any lack of care, staff shortage or anything even remotely not first rate in his care in every way. 

I am extremely skeptical of this.  She casts the proposal in words of better health care but in reality she is beholden to union interest.  Something tells me that is the angle she somehow really seeks to serve. 

Substandard care?

I really think it depends on the Hospital.  Some are better then others.  Just as some staff are better then others.  Some adminitration have the Dollar as the bottom line.  Not staffing or patient care.  Some facilities will give admistrators large sums of money for cutting costs.  Even if that means less staff to treat patients.
Other hospitals are Great.  Doctors and nurses have the time to spend talking to patients and treat them as people, not just patients.
As a nurse I enjoy when I can sit down and discuss the patient's problem, attemp to help them explore options and what they might do different to have a better quality of life.

Jan What's-her-name

When we first arrived in Evanston in Feb 08 I wondered why there were notices on almost every lamppost downtown to "get rid of Jan" -- now I know. What a self-serving piece of work!!!

Notices on lamposts?

' I wondered why there were notices on almost every lamppost downtown to "get rid of Jan"  '

I think you are imagining things.

I don't recall seeing those notices on any lampposts, and Jan carried Evanston by overwhelming margins in both 2008 and 2010.