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NO. 153.  AN ACT RELATING TO SAFE STAFFING AND QUALITY PATIENT CARE.

(H.227)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  18 V.S.A. § 9405b(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The commissioner, in consultation with representatives from the public oversight commission, hospitals, and other groups of health care professionals, and members of the public representing patient interests, shall adopt rules establishing a standard format for community reports, as well as the contents, which shall include:

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(9)  a summary of the community needs assessment, including a description of strategic initiatives discussed with or derived from the assessment; the one-year and four-year capital expenditure plans; and the depreciation schedule for existing facilities; and

(10)  information on membership and governing body qualifications, a listing of the current governing body members, and means of obtaining a schedule of meetings of the hospital’s governing body, including times scheduled for public participation; and

(11)  valid, reliable, and useful information on nurse staffing, including comparisons to appropriate industry benchmarks for safety. This information may include system-centered measures, such as skill mix, nursing care hours per patient day, and other such system-centered measures as reliable industry benchmarks become available in the future.

Sec. 2.  18 V.S.A. § 1852(a) is amended to read:

§ 1852.  Patients’ bill of rights; adoption

(a)  The general assembly hereby adopts the “Bill of Rights for Hospital Patients” as follows:

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(18)  The patient has the right to know the maximum patient census and the full-time equivalent numbers of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and licensed nursing assistants who provide direct care for each shift on the unit where the patient is receiving care. 

Sec. 3.  18 V.S.A. § 1854 is added to read:

§ 1854.  PUBLIC ACCESS TO INFORMATION

(a)  A hospital shall make public the maximum patient census and the number of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and licensed nursing assistants providing direct patient care in each unit during each shift.  The number of nurses shall be reported in full-time equivalents, with every eight hours worked by a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or licensed nursing assistant during the shift as one full-time equivalent.  Each unit’s information shall be posted in a prominent place that is readily accessible to patients and visitors in that unit at least once each day. The posting shall include the information for the preceding seven days.

(b)  The hospital shall provide a telephone number to the public for requesting public information, including information required under this section and sections 1852 and 9405b of this title.  The information shall be provided within 24 hours of the request.

Approved:  May 16, 2006



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us