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SEIU Healthcare calling on legislature to pass Patient Safety Act

Officials are calling on the state to pass House Bill 106 to address worker shortages across Pa.'s health care systems.

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — The ongoing issues in hospitals across the state were addressed yesterday after Pennsylvania legislators passed House Bill 253. The bill provides $225 million in emergency relief to healthcare workers across the state.

But, according to Silas Russell, the executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth's health care system "is in crisis."

While Russell said he's grateful for that support, more needs to be done.

"We have to go much bigger, much broader and much deeper if we're going to be able to address the big systemic problems in our health care system that have millions of healthcare workers leaving the bedside right now," he said.

For example, Russell said employment shortages are causing healthcare workers to take on more patients than possible in one shift, diminishing the quality of service they can deliver.

That's why he's calling on the state to pass the Patient Safety Act, which would regulate how many patients a nurse can see during one shift.

"We're making progress, but we need to see faster progress and we need to see the bill move," Russell said.

Currently, this bipartisan piece of legislation has 102 co-sponsors in the House. However, in order for it to move anywhere, state leaders said there has to be an agreement between all parties involved.

"There's a difference of opinion between the hospitals and healthcare systems and the nurses," State Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R-Dauphin) said. "The best thing we can do is advocate for that and get people to work together."

Meanwhile, SEIU Healthcare is calling on the health committee to have public hearings allowing caregivers to testify in front of the legislature on why the Patient Safety Act should be passed.

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