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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1586         FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1468


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Christine E. Canavan


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act establishing a patient care commission..






Christine E. Canavan

10th Plymouth

Geraldine M. Creedon

11th Plymouth

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr.

12th Hampden

Benjamin Swan

11th Hampden

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1586        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1468

By Ms. Canavan of Brockton, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1468) of Christine E. Canavan and others for an investigation by a special commission (including members of the General Court) relative to patient care.  Public Health. 


SEE HOUSE, NO. 2031 OF 2009-2010.]

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts


In the Year Two Thousand Eleven



An Act establishing a patient care commission..

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1.  For the purposes of this Act, the following terms should have the following meanings:

              “Direct patient care nurse”, a registered or licensed practical nurse who has accepted direct

              responsibility and accountability to carry out medical regimens, nursing or other bedside care for patients.

              “Indirect patient care nurse”, a registered or licensed practical nurse who has a presence in patient care areas but does not provide treatment and other bedside clinical care.

              “Direct patient care staffing levels”, the ratio between direct-patient care nurses and the number of patients cared for by the direct patient care nurses. 

              SECTION 2.  There is hereby established a special, temporary commission entitled the patient care commission, hereafter referred to as the commission, consisting of 7 persons as follows: 1 appointed by the governor; 3 appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; and 3 appointed by the president of the senate. Of the 7 members, there shall be no more than 2 direct patient care nurses and 1 indirect patient care nurse.  The members shall elect a chairman and vice-chairman. 

              Members shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 268A as they apply to special state employees.  Each member shall have experience in healthcare, public policy, nursing, or hospital management. 

              SECTION 3.  In the course of its deliberations, the commission shall be charged with the following duties:

              to study and evaluate the acuity of patients in acute-care hospitals and the efficiency of current direct patient care staffing levels within said hospitals;

              to study and evaluate the quality of patient care at the bedside;

              to determine the risks and benefits of varying staffing and direct patient care levels to patients;

              to determine the risk and benefits of varying staffing and direct-patient care levels to licensed staff and direct patient care team, with specific focus given to potential impact on professional licensure and hospital liability in dollars to patients; and

              to determine the risks and benefits of varying staffing and direct patient care levels to acute-care hospitals.

              SECTION 4.  The commission may hold public meetings and hold fact-finding hearings to assist in the collection and evaluation of data and testimony as it may deem necessary.  Any research, analysis or other staff support that the Commission reasonably requires shall be provided by the department of public health. 

              SECTION 5.  The governmental bodies having authority to make appointments to the Commission shall make said appointments within sixty days of the effective date of this act.  After 60 days has elapsed from the effective date of this act, the failure of one or more appointing authorities to make an appointment shall not prevent the commission from meeting or beginning its work and a quorum of the commission shall be comprised of at least one half of the actually sitting members of the commission. 

              SECTION 7.  The commission shall submit its findings and final recommendations in a report to the governor, members of the general court, the secretary of the health and human services, and the commissioner of public health within 18 months after the first meeting of the commission. 

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