ALPENA, MI - As Alpena and the region are starting to understand the changes that are taking effect at the Alpena Regional Medical Center, the Michigan Nurses Association on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 issued a press release pertaining to a poll about patient care in Michigan.\r\nIn a stroke of irony as MI Headlines has reported about the staffing levels at ARMC, the MNA strikes at the heart of some of the changes that will be taking effect at Alpena Regional Medical Center.\r\nThe Michigan Nurses Association press release is as follows:\r\nBy an overwhelming margin, voters want their legislators to improve care in Michigan hospitals by establishing a law that sets minimum nurse staffing levels, according to a new poll that is the first of its kind in the state.\r\n\u201cMichigan residents are saying loud and clear that our registered nurses are being forced to care for too many patients at once,\u201d said Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo), House sponsor of the Safe Patient Care Act. \u201cChronic nurse understaffing jeopardizes the care and safety of people in our hospitals every day. The only real solution is to pass a law that gives nurses enough time to spend with each patient and provide individualized care.\u201d\r\nBipartisan effort renews push for law to establish minimum RN staffing\r\nThere is currently no law that requires hospitals to have a certain number of nurses working at any given time. The Safe Patient Care Act, which will soon be introduced in the House by Hoadley and in the Senate by Sen. Rebekah Warren, requires minimum RN staffing in hospitals and curbs the rampant use of mandatory overtime. It has bipartisan support in both chambers.\r\nThe new scientific poll of Michigan voters shows that:\r\n\r\n\r\n\t77 percent of voters agree that \u201cthe quality of patient care in MI hospitals is suffering because registered nurses are being assigned too many patients per shift.\u201d\r\n\t44 percent of households with an overnight hospital stay in the past two years believe the quality of care suffered due to nurses having too many patients at one time.\r\n\t80 percent of voters favor passing a law establishing minimum nurse staffing levels in Michigan hospitals.\r\n\r\n\u201cRegistered nurses want to make sure that every patient, no matter what hospital you go to, receives quality care and is protected from harm,\u201d said John Armelagos, an RN at University of Michigan Health System and Michigan Nurses Association president. \u201cThe facts show that stretching nurses too thin leads to more patient infections, falls, complications and even deaths. Michigan needs a law so that every patient gets the nursing care they need, not the amount of care allowed by number crunchers focused on making money.\u201d\r\nRegistered nurse understaffing is a public health issue, Warren said.\r\n\u201cIt makes no sense that we limit the number of hours people can fly airplanes and drive trucks but put no limits on nurses\u2019 hours,\u201d Warren said. \u201cIt\u2019s dangerous and unfair to patients when nurses are so exhausted that they must compromise care and can\u2019t protect their patients from harm.\u201d\r\nRep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) said he is cosponsoring the bill because he frequently hears from hospital nurses in his district who can\u2019t provide quality care because they are assigned too many patients.\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s just plain wrong that when you go into the hospital, your nurse could have far too many patients to be safe,\u201d Inman said. \u201cA nurse\u2019s workload can literally be a matter of life or death for you or your loved one. This is a case where the government needs to enact reasonable standards to protect all its citizens, and I\u2019m glad to see bipartisan movement toward achieving that.\u201d\r\nAbout the legislation\r\nThe Safe Patient Care Act will improve care for patients by requiring Michigan hospitals to:\r\n\r\n\r\n\tImplement a staffing plan specific to each unit that adheres to minimum nurse-to-patient ratios based on research and national professional standards.\r\n\tLimit mandatory RN overtime to instances of genuine emergencies.\r\n\tDisclose their actual RN staffing levels and inform patients of how to report potential violations of the law.\r\n\r\nAbout the poll\r\nThe statewide survey of 600 Michigan voters was commissioned by the Michigan Nurses Association and conducted by telephone (landlines and cell phones) between the dates of September 8 through 14, 2015. The results are representative of all Michigan voters statewide, with a margin of error of +\/- 4%. Anderson Robbins Research, a Boston firm, conducted the survey and was chosen because it has worked with both nursing and hospital organizations and Democratic and Republican clients. A memorandum reporting the results of the survey is available upon request.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tA list and description of key scientific research showing the link between RN understaffing and poor outcomes for patients is available at www.MIsaferhospitals.org.\r\n\tHigh-resolution versions of graphics representing survey results are available for download.