Pennsylvania Patients, Hospitals, and Nurses Need the PATIENT SAFETY ACT

Pennsylvania is facing a crisis in healthcare. Unprecedented levels of short-staffing are leading nurses to leave the profession in record numbers and patients are suffering. We must address the conditions that drive caregiver burnout, trauma, and turnover, and improve care by passing the Patient Safety Act into law now.

The Patient Safety Act would establish safe staffing standards for all PA hospitals, implemented by each hospital in collaboration with feedback from caregivers, and according to the acuity and needs of their patients.

  • Passing the Patient Safety Act would save the life of 1 in 10 surgical patients. Each year, over 300 patients in PA die as a direct result of inadequate and unsafe staffing. Research shows that each patient a nurse is assigned beyond a safe limit increases the risk of death for that patient by 7%. Nurses in PA regularly report having 2-6 patients over that safe threshold, increasing risk of death by 14 to 42%.
  • Estimates say at least 1,162 deaths annually could have been avoided in Pennsylvania hospitals with a 4:1 staffing ratio and 459 deaths could have been avoided with a 5:1 staffing ratio.
  • In PA hospitals, the average cost to replace a single burned-out nurse is over $82,000. On average, each hospital is estimated to lose $300,000 per year for each percentage point of nurse turnover at their facility.

A University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing study in 2021 concluded: “In addition to better quality of care and patient outcomes, the savings due to fewer readmissions and shorter lengths of stay in hospitals was about $70 million, more than twice the cost of the additional nurse staffing.”

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