1. Progress on Safe Patient Limits in Hospitals
  2. Progress on Safe Patient Limits in Nursing Homes
  3. Building Our Movement

1. Progress on Safe Patient Limits in Hospitals

As of today, 25 out of 50 Senators have signed on to cosponsor Senate Bill 450 for safe patient limits in PA’s hospitals, and 87 out of 203 Representatives have signed onto House Bill 867. We’re incredibly close to a majority of support in the Senate and within reach of a majority in the House.

Our bills have been referred to the House Health Committee (HB 867) and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee (SB 450). Committees may hold public hearings to discuss legislation, refer a bill to a subcommittee for further study, vote on the legislation, or do nothing whatsoever. That last option is where the vast majority of bills that get introduced die. And that’s what has happened so far with Senate Bill 450 and House Bill 867: the respective committees have refused to do anything yet.

Committees usually hold public policy hearings before they vote on a bill. That’s why we want to get a majority of the committee members to support the legislation, call for a hearing, and move our bills out of committee as soon as possible.

In the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, we are incredibly close to a majority of the committee supporting the legislation. Here’s how we’re doing, who supports the bill, and who doesn’t:

In the House Health Committee, we are not quite as close to a majority, but we’re making good progress. Here’s how we’re doing, who supports the bill, and who doesn’t:

2. Progress to Safe Patient Limits in Nursing Homes

Earlier this year, we launched our call for Pennsylvania to raise the Safe Staffing Standard for nursing homes from today’s required 2.7 hours of direct care per resident per 24 hours to 4.1 hours, as experts and caregivers have recommended for many years. We’ve been calling for this to happen through an adjustment in the existing regulations, which haven’t been updated in over three decades. Any meaningful staffing improvements also require legislative action to mandate that funding increases go directly to the bedside so that nursing homes can hire more staff and recruit and retain qualified caregivers by increasing wages, providing affordable healthcare, and increasing training.

Now, we have an incredible opportunity: For the first time since 1976, Governor Wolf’s administration is reviewing the long-term care regulations, including staffing regulations.

Here’s the steps it will take to make this work:

  1. The Governor’s administration begins an investigation into the regulations (Done!)
  2. The investigation happens (Done!)
  3. The Governor’s administration rewrites the regulations (In progress)
  4. An independent commission is formed to review the regulations
  5. Legislators vote on portions of the regulations that require spending from the state

3. Building Our Movement

What we did together in 2019:

Through many people taking many small actions — and some people taking big actions! — we accomplished a lot together this year. In a statewide, distributed movement of nurses across many workplaces, it can be hard to see the whole picture, so we wanted to share the big picture from 2019:

22,887 have participated in our advocacy for safe patient limits.

7,813 people took action with us for their first time this year.

20,000 have signed our petition.

2,002 wrote an email to Governor Wolf calling on him to take bold action for safe patient limits in nursing homes and hospitals.

365 called their Senator with our hotline.

465 called their Representative with our hotline.

363 joined a Nurses of PA conference call.

159 attended a planning, regional team, or statewide working committee meeting.

133 attended a skills or advocacy training.

122 went to the 2nd Safe Staffing Summit.

331 nurses have visited their legislators since we started this campaign, across 230 legislative visits.

Over 50 news articles, letters to the editor, TV stories, and radio stories.

34 participated in textbanking other nurses.

50 participating in phonebanking other nurses.

206 donated to Nurses of PA this year.

73 contributed to Nurses of PA on a monthly basis this year.

Crowdfunded 3 billboards this year.

Had 5 petition deliveries around the state to wrap up the year this December!

How we stayed in touch in 2019:

We also wanted to share some information about how we stayed in touch, engaged nurses about opportunities to participate in our advocacy, reached new people, and raised awareness. You may not realize this, but our network of nurses advocating for safe patient limits in PA is likely the largest and most engaged network of nurses in Pennsylvania. Here’s some info about what that looks like:

Nurses and organizers sent 110,009 texts to nurses to talk about and share ways to participate in our fight in 2019, and made 21,313 calls.

137,000 different people engaged with our content on Facebook, 120,000 of them hadn’t engaged with our content on Facebook before this year.

That includes 30.1K comments, 113K reactions, and 22.3K shares.

Our Facebook ads reached 197,457 people an average of 6.93 times each.

Approximately 2,000 engaged with our content on Twitter.

Our broadcast communications (like the emails you get from info@nursesofpaorg & texts from 787-753) sent 115 different email blasts opened by about 109,835 people, and sent 460,488 texts.

Our website NursesOfPA.org was visited 45,427 times. While our petition was by far the most visited page, a lot of people visited the resources we’ve put together!

1,626 visited our legislative tracker.

1,226 visited our policy resources page.
545 visited our guide to meet your legislator.

You are part of something big. Together, with all of us doing what we can, when we can, how we can — through big actions and small — our collective efforts are building a powerful movement for safe patient limits and a voice for nurses in the decisions that are being made about our patients, residents, and our profession.

Let’s keep building power and advocating for our patients in 2020.

Contributions help us to afford things like this website, digital ads to bring more nurses into the fight for safe staffing, materials for rallies, the safe staffing billboards we put up, the buses and ambulances and stretchers from the petition delivery, and other resources we can use to make our patient advocacy more powerful and more effective.

Please note that contributions to Nurses of Pennsylvania are not tax deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Nurses of Pennsylvania is a 501(c)(4) organization of nurses advocating for safe staffing laws in Pennsylvania. Contributions of any amount will be used to advocate for safe staffing levels. If you choose to make a donation to Nurses of Pennsylvania, your credit card information will be used only for the transactions you authorize through our secure online payment system.