Safe Patient Care Act introduced in Michigan House by local politician

Safe Patient Care Act introduced in Michigan House by local politician.

LANSING, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A local politician spearheads a push for better hospital care and introduces three bills to the Michigan House.

The Safe Patient Care Act was introduced in the Michigan House with both patients and nurses in mind. However, some feel the bills will put a significant burden on hospitals.

Registered Nurse Lori Batzloff said, “It's a rewarding job and it is a tough job.”

Batzloff wants her patients' care to be the best it can be, but said a Michigan nursing shortage is affecting that care.

She said, “While some hospitals may have adequate staffing not every hospital does and there's no law requiring that they do.”

Batzloff is supporting proposed legislation called the Safe Patient Care Act, which would set nurse to patient ratios, limit the use of mandatory overtime, and require hospitals to post staff levels online.

Representative Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, introduced one of the three bills.

He and Batzloff agree that mandatory overtime is stretching nurses beyond their limits.

Batzloff said, “Beyond the point of exhaustion, sometimes for some nurses.”

Hoadley said, “When it comes to the person that you care about you want to make sure that when they're in the hospital the nurse is 100 percent ready and able to care for them.”

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association said legislation isn't the answer to staffing issues.

Vice President of Advocacy Chris Mitchell said nurse training is the real problem and states with set ratios don't actually see an improvement in care.

Mitchell said, “The pressure put on these hospitals to maintain the ratios has led to things like hospitals limiting patient capacity and diverting ambulances because of the mandated ratios.”

Batzloff said, from her experience, if nurses feel like they can't adequately do their job, “It burns them out and they look for another career or they'll go to a state that will give them a reasonable work load.”

According to the Michigan Nurses Association, 1 in 5 nurses are aware of a time when understaffing led to a patient's death.