Bill proposes new reporting requirements
HHS would review mergers, acquisitions
If passed, the federal Patient Safety Act of 1997 (H.R. 1165) will require, as conditions for Medicare participation, that:
• Health care institutions make public specific information on nurse staffing levels, staff mix, and patient outcomes. Included are:
numbers of RNs providing direct care;
numbers of unlicensed personnel providing direct care;
average number of patients per RN;
incidence of adverse incidents;
methods used for determining and adjusting staffing levels;
complaints filed with a state agency, the Health Care Financing Administration, or an accrediting agency related to Medicare conditions of participation and results.
• Whistle-blower language be added to Medicare law to protect from possible retribution nurses who report or voice concern about unsafe patient conditions.
• Mergers and acquisitions be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to look at long-range issues related to the health and safety of patients, the community, and employees and to block any transaction if the department concludes that there would be a negative impact on health and safety. Included are:
primary, acute, and emergency services;
services for mothers, children, and the elderly;
services to other specific populations, such as uninsured, ethnic minority, disabled, and gay;
services related to prevention, detection, and treatment of HIV and related disease, mental health, and substance abuse;
social and community services.