This Wednesday, May 20 at 11 a.m., the Health Policy Commission’s Quality Improvement and Patient Practice Committee will unveil their final recommendations for the regulations underpinning the new law that sets safe patient limits for nurses working in all Massachusetts hospital intensive care units. Nurses who wish to attend the meeting should arrive just before 11 a.m., which will be held at 50 Milk St. on the 8th floor in Boston (and please wear MNA blue).
On September 28, 2014 a new law went into effect that requires hospitals to adhere to safer patient limits for registered nurses who care for patients in all Massachusetts hospital intensive care units. The law ensures that no nurse can take more than one patient, with the ability to move to a two-patient assignment based on the stability of the patients as assessed by the direct care nurses, not managers or administrators, with the assistance of a soon to be developed “acuity tool” (a tool used to identify and measure specific clinical and environmental factors that determine how stable a patient is and the amount of care required).
The HPC Quality Improvement and Patient Protection (QIPP) Committee has held two listening sessions to collect general comment and testimony on issues related to implementation of the law, including the formulation of acuity tools, methods of public reporting, and relevant patient safety quality indicators.
Representatives from the Massachusetts Nurses Association, along with other health care and consumer advocacy groups and legislators who drafted this law, provided testimony at the public hearings on March 25 and April 2 to express our serious concerns about the initial “draft” regulations and where we advocated for needed changes to ensure the intent of the law is followed.
Specifically, the draft regulations failed to make clear that the baseline staffing assignment for any ICU nurse is one nurse to one patient, which is the clear intent of the law. This is important as the Massachusetts Hospital Association and a number of its hospitals have been engaged in an effort to undermine the law and many hospitals have been violating the law on a regular basis, forcing nurse to take two and even three patients at a time. Click here to review the draft regulations, which include notes by MNA of areas that need to be changed. Click hear to visit our web page that contains detailed information on all aspects of the law.
Following the Quality Improvement Patient Practice Committee’s release of their final recommendations on Wednesday, the full Health Policy Commission will meet for a vote to approve the final ICU law regulations on Wednesday, June 10. The MNA will keep you updated on all developments.