We are pleased to post this letter to the editor from the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 18th about the urgency to pass the Patient Safety Act from former Claudia Crane, a retired nurse from Philly.
In a recent article about the Patient Safety Act, HB 106, a measure before the Pennsylvania House that would mandate minimum staffing levels for nurses in hospitals, you quote State Rep. Kathy Rapp (R., Warren County), the former chair of the House Health Committee and an opponent of the bill, who claimed that such mandates could force understaffed rural community hospitals to close.
But Rapp cited no evidence that requiring a minimum nurse staffing level causes hospitals to fail.
It is true that rural hospitals have failed, but there are other reasons why they have.
New, for-profit owners can short-staff a struggling community hospital, causing it to close, then try to use the building for another, more-profitable enterprise.
Indeed, an April Inquirer article cites an example of that in Berwick, Pa. Day-care centers in Pennsylvania have state mandated staffing ratios.
You can’t get an airplane off the ground without a required number of flight attendants. Minimum mandated nurse staffing standards are a matter of safe and effective care.
Claudia Crane, retired nurse, Philadelphia. leader of Nurses of PA (NOPA)