WARREN — Rep. Kathy L. Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest), Republican chair of the House Health Committee, voiced serious concerns about legislation that could hurt hospitals’ ability to care for patients. Rapp issued this statement following the House Health Committee public hearing:
“We all want hospitals to have fully staffed nursing teams to ensure patients are receiving proper care. However, this bill does nothing to address the shortage of nurses our hospitals are currently fighting. It only sets up our health care systems for further financial strain. These mandated nurse staffing ratios are strict, and the Department of Health cannot alter these ratios as needed.
“If a hospital cannot meet these ratios, they would be fined up to $15,000 per shift under this bill. There are no limits on how many fines would be issued. They may even close beds or stop offering certain specialty services altogether.
“Our hospitals are already doing the best they can to recruit capable nurses, including raising wages and offering sizeable signing bonuses. Instead of issuing mandates, we should focus on how to address the nursing shortage. We could push for increased funding in scholarship programs, NCLEX prep courses and nurse residency programs for new graduates.”
House Bill 106
would mandate nurse staffing ratios in hospitals across the Commonwealth. If hospitals fail to meet these ratios, they will be subject to fines of up to $15,000 from the Department of Health for each violation.
Representative Kathy Rapp
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jake Gillespie