8 things to know about the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act and RN staffing

Under the proposed Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act, Medicare participating hospitals would be required to establish and publicly report unit-by-unit staffing plans, according to American Nurses Association.

Here are eight things to know about the bill:

1. The bill was introduced in April 2015.

2. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., sponsored the bill, which has been read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

3. Under the bill, participating hospitals would have to create a hospital nurse staffing committee that will develop and implement a staffing plan.

4. Direct care nurses or their representatives must comprise at least 55 percent of the committee.

5. Additionally, the committee's plans must create an adjustable minimum number of registered nurses. The committee should base these figures on patient numbers and the intensity of necessary care.

6. When organizations add RNs to unit staff, this lowers nearly 20 percent of all hospital deaths. It also lowers the relative risk of adverse patient deaths.

7. Retaining nurses is important for practices as the cost of recruiting and replacing an RN is between 1.1 times and 1.6 times an annual nurse's salary.

8. Boosting the number of RNs can generate savings of nearly $3 billion.

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