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Lincoln Daily News
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Lincoln, IL 62656
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To the editor:
legislators are debating House Bill 2604, a proposed law that would
mandate nurse-to-patient ratios. This means the state would control
how many patients a nurse can care for at one time in a hospital
setting. Unfortunately, this bill will have unintended consequences.
The safety of the patients we serve is our top priority. Our
exceptional nurses are a key reason we are able to provide such
great care. Appropriate nursing coverage is essential for quality
care. However, the measures outlined in this particular piece of
legislation will not achieve that goal.
Small rural hospitals, like Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, and
the patients they serve will be particularly harmed by this bill.
Hospitals all across the nation, and rural hospitals in particular,
are struggling with the reality of the national nursing shortage. If
this bill becomes law, it will be nearly impossible to hire the
number of nurses we will need to meet government-mandated ratios.
This one-size-fits-all approach is not in the best interest of our
patients. Because we will be unable to hire more high-quality nurses
to comply with these nurse-to-patient ratios, we may be forced to
cut important services or be unable to serve everyone in our
community, which runs counter to our mission of service.
[to top of second column in this letter]
This legislation would have unique – and potentially
dangerous – consequences at hospitals like ours, putting our ability
to transfer our most vulnerable patients at risk. Larger hospitals,
including Memorial Medical Center, would be unable to accept
transfers from smaller hospitals around the region if these rigid
nurse staffing levels are at the limit of the number of patients
they can care for. This will reduce access to essential medical care
for residents of our community and many other communities around the
The system we have in place now allows us to provide the best care
possible for our patients and community. ALMH’s dedicated and
compassionate nurses have the expertise and the experience to make
the moment-by-moment decisions to do what is best for their
patients. However, this bill would take that freedom out of the
hands of nurses and put it into the hands of lawmakers, who don’t
understand the health needs of the people and communities we serve.
President and CEO
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
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