SECTION 1. Chapter 6 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following section:–
Section 219. (a) There shall be a commission on nurse staffing in hospitals located within, but not subject to the control of the executive office of health and human services. The commission shall review and make recommendations regarding best nurse staffing practices designed to improve the patient care environment, quality outcomes, and nurse satisfaction.
(b) (1) The commission shall consist of 17 members, as follows: the secretary of health and human services or a designee, who shall serve as the chair; the attorney general or a designee; the executive director of the health policy commission or a designee; the house chair of the joint committee on public health; the senate chair of the joint committee on public health; one person appointed by the speaker of the house; one person appointed by the senate president; and one representative from each of the following 10 organizations: American Nurses Association Massachusetts, Inc.; Emergency Nurses Association of Massachusetts State Council; Academy of Medical Surgical Nursing, Massachusetts Chapter; Massachusetts Nurses Association; Organization of Nurse Leaders; the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, Inc.; Service Employees International Union; Massachusetts Health Council; American Association of Retired Persons; and Health Law Advocates.
(2) Members of the commission shall serve for a term of 4 years, without compensation. Any member shall be eligible for reappointment. Vacancies shall be filled in accordance with paragraph (1) for the remainder of the unexpired term. Any member who is appointed by the governor may be removed by the governor for cause.
(c) The commission may establish advisory committees to assist its work.
(d) The commission shall: (1) examine evidence based, tested and validated research on patient care quality outcomes relative to nurse staffing levels; (2) examine evidence based, tested and validated research on appropriate staffing levels for all units within a hospital; (3) examine approaches undertaken by other states by statute or regulation to address the issues of patient safety and patient quality outcomes relative to nurse staffing; (4) examine any barriers to reasonable and efficient enforcement of staffing standards adopted in other jurisdictions; (5) develop strategies for collaborative practice amongst registered nurses and other members of the health care team; (6) hold public hearings on at least an annual basis and meetings to accept comment from the general public and to seek advice from experts, including but not limited to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing; (7) submit an annual report to the legislature as provided in subsection (e) on the state of hospital staffing in the commonwealth.
(e) The commission shall file an annual report, on or before March 1, with the joint committee on public health on its activities and any statutory or regulatory recommendations. The commission shall monitor the implementation of its recommendations and update recommendations to reflect current science and evidence based practice.
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