New Legislation Aims to Address Nursing Shortage in Hawaii and Nationwide

Reauthorization of federal funding among primary goals

Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI), co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, spent last week announcing and clarifying her support for bipartisan legislation aimed at addressing the current shortage of qualified nurses in her home state of Hawaii and across the United States.

The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R. 5052) directs Medicare-participating hospitals to develop nurse staffing plans that ensure an adequate number of nurses to meet patient needs and improve patient safety. Without adequate registered nurse staffing, patients are at higher risk for prolonged hospital stays, increased infections, avoidable medication errors, falls, injuries and even death.

“Nurses are the driving force of our healthcare system, providing top-notch healthcare while ensuring patient safety and comfort,” said Rep. Gabbard. “Unfortunately, too many hospitals, especially in our rural and underserved communities, face a nursing shortage—putting patient lives and health at risk and driving up hospital costs. Adding nurses to hospital staffing plans would help to dramatically prevent hospital deaths, reduce infections and hospital readmissions, and save hospitals nearly $3 billion.

“Our bipartisan legislation will support and empower nurses in Hawaii and across the country to deliver quality healthcare for all.”

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