To the Editor:
I would like to thank Dr. Pil for his explanation of what is ahead of us all in the health care world in his The National Landscape Has Changed Health Care article, published Jan 2. Under the new ACA guidelines, penalties will be imposed upon hospitals for early re-admissions. This will be countered by improving the discharge process, with improved patient teaching and education. He also addressed reducing hospital acquired infections that will require diligent observation of potential infection sources. These are both great ways to improve the care you receive when you are a patient in the hospital. He goes on to say, “These changes are significant and will require a significant investment of money, as well as clinician time…”
Registered nurses that care for you while you are hospitalized are responsible for more than 90 percent of both the patient education, discharge instructions, and infection reducing observation. In order to provide this needed care would require each hospital to adequately staff their units with enough RNs to do these things and improve patient outcomes. Unfortunately, this is not being done in most hospitals across the state.
So, how do we make sure we get the care we need when we are patients in Massachusetts hospitals? Next November, the Patient Safety Act ballot question will be on the 2014 ballot. It would put a limit on the number of patients an RN could be assigned to care for at one time. This would assure that all the things that were outlined in Dr. Pil’s article are realized, and that patients get the care they have always deserved and now, by the ACA law, are mandated to receive. For more information on the Patient Safety Act go to www.patientsafetyact.com/get-facts.