RD16 - Nurse Staffing Ratios in Nursing Facilities Study (SB 1125/HB 2257)

  • Published: 2002
  • Author: Joint Commission on Health Care
  • Enabling Authority: (2002)

Executive Summary:

Senate Bi111125 Of The 2001 Session Of The General Assembly Was Referred To The Joint Commission On Health Care For Study

Senate Bill (SB) 1125 of the 2001 Session of the General Assembly would have required nursing homes in Virginia to meet minimum nurse staffing levels (expressed as a ratio of nurses and nurse aides to residents) in order to be licensed to operate in the Commonwealth. (A copy of SB 1125 is attached at Appendix A.)

While the bill was tabled in the Senate Committee on Education and Health, the motion to table the bill also included a motion to refer the bill to the Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) for study. In his letter requesting the JCHC to study the provisions of SB 1125, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Health (Senator Warren E. Barry) wrote: "there was much discussion concerning staffing standards and issues relating to quality of care, appropriate staffing ratios and required positions, patient acuity, and the costs of care as such costs could be affected by establishing strict staffing standards." The letter requested that the JCHC "...include an examination of the provisions of SB 1125 and the issues relating to staffing standards in its study plan for the 2001 interim and that the Commission provide the Senate Committee on Education and Health with any recommendations on these issues that it may deem appropriate." (A copy of Senator Barry's letter is attached at Appendix B.)

In addition to SB 1125, House Bill (HB) 2257 of the 2001 Session of the General Assembly also would have required nursing homes to meet certain nurse staffing standards in order to be licensed to operate in the Commonwealth. HB 2257 was tabled in the House Committee on Health, Welfare, and Institutions. This bill was not referred to the JCHC for further study. While the type of minimum nurse staffing required under HB 2257 (i.e., hours of direct care per resident per day) is different from SB 1125 (i.e., ratio of nurses and nurse aides to residents), the intent and purpose of both bills are very similar. Therefore, the provisions of HB 2257 and the type of minimum nurse staffing contemplated in this proposed legislation are reviewed in this report. (A copy of HB 2257 is attached at Appendix C.)