Rapp doubles down on safe nurse staffing bill

Safe nurse staffing legislation that Rep. Kathy Rapp has promised to block as chair of the House Health Committee is still percolating.

Rapp doubled down on the decision in a mailing to constituents received this week while multiple nursing entities are holding a town hall at Days Inn, 210 Ludlow St., on Saturday night to demand action on the bill.

Rapp’s mailing is headlined the “Medical Freedom Report” and states there is “legislation currently before the House Health Committee that would completely undermine the future job security of nurses and terminate local control” over staffing decisions.

“Deceptively labeled as the Patient Safety Act,” she continued, “House Bill 106 would impose California-style, one-size-fits-all medical staffing ratios….

“The last thing hospital administrators and nursing supervisors need are more out-of-touch government mandates,” the mailing states. “As Majority Chair of the House Health Committee, I cannot in good conscience support the advancement of House Bill 106, or any other restrictive medical staffing mandate that would inevitably deny or ration access to affordable, high-quality patient care.”

She argued the bill “can only end” with the closure of urgent care, emergency room and hospital doors “due to excessive DOH (Department of Health) micro-management and arbitrary, unpredictable, fine-driven bankruptcy.”

Several nursing organizations disagree.

Nurses of Pennsylvania and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania are holding a town hall Saturday night at 6 p.m. to “demand action on safe staffing from Rep. Kathy Rapp” and discuss nurse staffing shortages generally.

“Nurses are leaving their jobs in record numbers, and it isn’t just because of COVID,” the organizations said in a statement provided to the Times Observer. “For years, hospitals have cut back on staffing to maximize profits, setting the stage for our current staffing crisis. Short staffing burns out nurses and endangers patients.

“For the first time, a bipartisan majority of sitting House members have co-sponsored the Patient Safety Act, but Rep. Kathy Rapp is blocking a vote on the bill. Since Rep. Rapp has taken it upon herself to block safe staffing for the entire state, local nurses and community members are speaking out for patients across Pennsylvania to demand she vote on the bill.”


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