The American Nursing Association (ANA) commends Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and David Joyce (R-OH) for introducing the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act. This bill would require Medicare-participating hospitals to establish registered nurse (RN) staffing plans using a committee, comprised of majority of direct care nurses, to ensure patient safety, reduce readmissions and improve nurse retention.

Endorsed by ANA, the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R. 2083/S. 1132) presents a balanced approach to ensure adequate RN staffing by recognizing that direct care nurses, working closely with managers, are best equipped to determine the staffing level for their patients. Without the necessary nurse coverage, patients risk longer hospital stays, increased infections, avoidable medication errors, falls, injuries and even death.

The bill's sponsors chair Congress' Nursing Causus, Merkley in the Senate and Capps and Joyce jointly in the House. The Nursing Causus educates lawmakers on issues significant to the profession and patients, and the impact of nurses on the health care system.