Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
April 16, 2013  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Introduces Bill to Improve Patient Care and Address Nationwide Shortage of Nurses  

Legislation Would Help Ensure That Patients Get the Care They Need by Supporting America’s Nurses

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today introduced the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act, legislation that would protect the rights of nurses to advocate on behalf of their patients, establish minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals and invest in training and retaining nurses to address the nationwide nursing shortage.

“I am proud to introduce legislation that will help save the lives of countless patients by improving the quality of care in our nation’s hospitals,” Senator Boxer said. “We must support the nurses who work tirelessly every day to provide the best possible care to their patients.”

The legislation builds on the success of California’s historic law that set minimum nurse-to-patient ratios and extends those minimum standards to hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid.

Specifically, the bill would:

• Establish minimum nurse-to-patient ratios that will save lives, improve the quality of care and help to address the nursing shortage by creating a work environment that encourages nurses to remain in the hospital workforce;

• Provide whistleblower protections to protect the right of nurses to advocate for the safety of patients and report violations of minimum standards of care;

• Invest in nursing mentorship demonstration programs to better prepare nurses for work in a hospital setting.

Senator Boxer introduced similar legislation in the 111th and 112th Congresses. This legislation is supported by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).