Illinois nurses who work at hospitals could soon have a voice in the determination of appropriate staffing levels due to legislation filed by Senate Republican Deputy Leader Sue Rezin (R-Morris), which recently passed the Illinois Senate.
“This legislation is a bipartisan proposal that started as an initiative of the American Nurses Association-Illinois and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association,” said Sen. Rezin. “The Nurse Staffing Improvement Act provides a meaningful opportunity for our state to improve a patient’s quality of care and safety by ensuring that the people who are directly tasked with their care have a say in the staffing levels.”
Senate Bill 2153 would improve the quality of care for patients and address Illinois’ nursing shortage by:
- Strengthening the already existing Nursing Care Committees at hospitals by allowing them to prepare a staffing plan and requiring hospitals to explain their reasoning for not adopting the plan;
- Requiring the Nursing Care Committee to meet at least six times a year and increasing the number of direct care nurses on the committee to at least 55 percent;
- Requiring the Nursing Care Committee to issue an annual report to the hospital’s governing board, including recommendations for future changes to nurse staffing;
- Imposing fines on hospitals that do not comply with the written staffing plan;
- Depositing collected fines into the Hospital Licensure Fund in order support nursing scholarships;
- Adding $2 million, provided by hospitals, to the Hospital Licensure Fund from academic years 2021-2022 through 2024-2025; and
- Providing a 2.5 percent income tax credits for nurse educators.
“We believe the Nurse Staffing Improvement Act is a great move in the right direction to solidifying the exceptional care registered nurses provide to their patients in Illinois,” said Morris Hospital Vice President of Patient Care Services Kim Landers. “Registered nurses understand and know their patients’ acuity better than anyone.”
Senate Bill 2153 passed with zero no votes and now heads to the House for further consideration.