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Voice of the People: Urge lawmakers to reject HB2604

April 25, 2019 GMT

Every hour your local hospitals provide life-saving care to everyone coming through their doors. However, lawmakers in Springfield are considering a proposal – House Bill 2604 – taking away the ability of local hospitals and healthcare professionals to decide how best to care for patients and keep healthcare close to home.

This proposal – “nurse staffing ratios” – dictates exactly how many patients a nurse can serve at any given time at every Illinois hospital. This one-size-fits-all approach ignores the seriousness of each patient’s injury/illness and the skills, training and experience of each nurse in a unit.

The number of patients and their conditions change quickly in hospitals. Local healthcare professionals need flexibility to adjust to properly staff the ER and hospital units.

Ratios would force hospitals to layoff key support staff and reduce services. At critically busy times, when your local hospitals are needed most, they would have to divert patients to other distant hospitals to comply with mandated ratios.

Illinois doesn’t have enough nurses to meet the ratios – with a shortage of 21,000 nurses and one-third of RNs planning to retire within five years.

Only one state, California, has adopted nurse staffing ratios. But studies indicate there is no conclusive evidence ratios improve quality or outcomes.

We urge lawmakers to reject HB2604 or any other proposal on nurse staffing ratios.

AJ Wilhelmi


Illinois Health & Hospital Association