Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek signed House Bill 2697 into law on Tuesday, August 11, 2023. Oregon recently became the first state in the nation to pass legislation mandating minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios across all hospitals, the law takes effect September 2023. House Bill 2697, which was signed into law on July 19, requires specific minimum staffing ratios for 12 types of hospital units ranging from emergency rooms to pediatrics. The law aims to improve patient safety, reduce medical errors, and provide nurses with better working conditions.
The Oregon Nurses Association posted on Facebook that “the issues covered by the legislation include: the establishment of minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, wall-to-wall staffing committees, investigations and enforcement when hospitals fail to follow the law, and an end to the “buddy break system” where nurses end up with double the patient load when another nurse takes a break. “
HB 2697 Ratios and Highlights
The ratio is based on the level of care. The bill outlines the following ratios for Certified Nursing Assistants and Nurses to begin June 2024:
CNAs will have 1:7 ratio on dayshift and 1:11 on the night shift
The Intensive Care nurse- to- patient ratio is 1:2
The surgical nurse-to-patient ratio is 1:5 starting in June 2024 and drops to 1:4 in June 2026.
Staffing violations will be investigated by the Oregon Health Authority.
The law also provides $10 million in grants to hospitals to help them meet the new staffing requirements.