June 11, 2024

Phased-in nurse staffing ratio law draws complaints in Oregon

Editor's Note

The state agency overseeing Oregon’s hospitals has received a “flood of complaints” due to a “first-of-its-kind” law mandating progressively stricter nurse and certified nursing assistant (CNA) staffing ratios, according to a June 7 report in KMTR.  

Passed after extensive negotiations among hospital executives, staff, and nurse unions during the 2023 legislative session, HB 2697 mandates a phased-in approach to stricter ratios, the outlet reports. As of June 1, hospitals are required to have approved staffing plans with at least one nurse for every two patients in intensive care and one nurse for every five patients in surgical care settings. Night shift requirements are more lenient. The law also calls on hospitals to form staffing committees to approve staffing plans.

As detailed in the KMTR article, The Oregon Health Authority, claims it has received hundreds of complaints, conducted dozens of investigations, and issued two warnings to hospitals. Among other concerns, the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) has alleged hospitals bypassed approval processes for staffing plans and shifted CNA responsibilities onto nurses, affecting patient care quality. Meanwhile, nurses quoted in the article expressed concern about increased workloads and declining care quality.

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