SB 115, PN 473 (Boscola) – This legislation authorizes the Commonwealth to join the National Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). Senator Collett offered amendment A00961 which adds provisions to the bill addressing hospital nurse staffing reports and whistleblower protections.
It requires hospitals to compile daily reports on each patient care unit and shift including the number of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and unlicensed personnel per 4- hour shift providing direct patient care and the relative number of patients to each of these categories. The report must also include the direct care nurse staffing schedule and assignment roster; number of hours on the shift that a unit clerk or secretary is exclusively available for the specified patient care unit; whether patients needing respiratory treatments had treatments that were administered by a respiratory therapist or the direct care nursing staff; percentage of temporary or agency nurses employed by an outside entity; hospital methods for determining and adjusting staff levels; the turnover rate of each category of nurses; and the number/type of complaints filed with the hospital concerning patient care for the prior month.
The reports must be posted in a location visible to the public on the patient unit and submitted to the Department of Health.
Also, the amendment protects whistleblowers by prohibiting hospitals from discriminating, retaliating, intimidating, threatening or punishing employees regarding compensation or terms and conditions of employment when the employee acts in good faith to disclose violations of the Nurse Licensure Compact Act (SB 115) or law, participate in investigations into matters that the employee reasonably believes pose a health, safety or welfare risk to the patients or public, or refuse to participate in such dangerous activities. Nurses receive these protections if they notify their direct nursing supervisors in writing of the offending activity or violation.
Additionally, the Department of Health must produce and publicly post quarterly reports for each hospital showing the average direct care nurse staffing levels for each unit for a 3-month period.
Finally, the Department is required to monitor these reports and compare them to the quality control measures reporting for health care facilities in order to check for correlations or deficiencies in the quality control measures.
The amendment failed by a vote of 18-30. The bill was approved by a vote of 32-16.
SB 432, PN 617 (Laughlin) – An Act amending the act of May 15, 1933 (P.L.565, No.111), known as the Department of Banking and Securities Code, in banking and securities, further providing for fund. A vote of 48-0 was recorded.
SB 445, PN 636 (Mensch) – An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in registration of vehicles, providing for contributions for breast cancer research. A vote of 48-0 was recorded.
SB 664, PN 753 (Corman) – Amends the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L. 30, No. 14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, to give students the ability to repeat a grade level during the 2021-2022 school year to account for any lost educational opportunities due to COVID-19, including students with disabilities who reached the age of 21 during the 2020-2021 academic year. A vote of 48-0 was recorded.
The Senate confirmed the following executive nominations by a vote of 48-0:
Sheri L. Risler, State Board of Accountancy (reappointment)
George E. Lenz, Pennsylvania Council on Aging (new appointment)
Jerry K. Roller, Architects Licensure Board (reappointment)
Deborah M. Craft, State Board of Cosmetology (new appointment)
Barbara Lee Fowler, State Board of Dentistry (reappointment)
Robert W. Bogle, Board of Governors of the State System of Higher Education (new appointment)
Rasheedah Phillips, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (new appointment)
Kevin Harden, Jr., Council of Trustees of Kutztown University (new appointment)
Jennifer A. Keth, State Board of Massage Therapy (new appointment)
William D. Fetchik, State Board of Podiatry (new appointment)
Katherine L. Bradley, State Board of Psychology (reappointment)
Dale J. Yingst, State Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers and Salespersons (reappointment)