Ohio Hospitals Would Face Undue Mandate Proposed By House Bill

Earlier this week, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce gave opponent testimony on House Bill 144 in front of the Ohio House Commerce and Labor Committee to express our concerns that the bill represents a government mandate on employment practices.

Specifically, the legislation would interfere with the employment relationship between hospitals and nurses by placing limitations on when a nurse can work overtime hours. That prohibition is problematic because patient surges at a hospital are not scheduled and are unpredictable, so hospitals should have the flexibility to assure patient safety by having available nurses stay at work.

Rather than dictating the employment relationship between all nurses and hospitals in Ohio through a “one size fits all” legislative mandate like HB 144 proposes, the Ohio Chamber believes that each individual hospital in the state needs the flexibility to create tailored solutions that is the best fit for the hospital and their nurses.

Ohio hospitals already face more stringent regulations on their employment practices than most other employers because hospitals are required under Ohio law to create nursing care committees where nurses must comprise at least fifty percent of the committee’s membership. These nursing care committees develop the hospital’s staffing levels and the hospital’s policy for identifying additional nurses needed to meet patient care needs.

HB 144 would add another layer of government red tape that hospitals must navigate in order to comply with Ohio law. These over-burdensome government mandates on employment practices negatively impact the competitiveness of Ohio’s business climate because the mandates increase compliance costs and the risk of potential liability. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce stands with our hospital members who oppose the bill and will discuss with legislators how patient safety can be put at risk when hospitals do not have the flexibility to adopt internal policies to address patient surges.