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For your safety, let hospitals — not politicians — decide workloads for nurses

The Illinois State Capitol | AP file photo

Every hour, every day, your local hospitals provide life-saving care to everyone who comes through their doors.

State lawmakers in Springfield are considering a proposal — House Bill 2604 — that would take away the ability of your local hospitals and healthcare professionals to decide how best to care for their patients and keep healthcare close to home, where it should be.

This proposal — “mandatory nurse staffing ratios” — would dictate exactly how many patients an individual nurse can serve at any given time at every hospital in the state. This rigid, one-size-fits-all approach, ignores the seriousness of each patient’s injury or illness and the skills, specialized training and experience of each nurse in a hospital unit.

The number and types of patients and their conditions change quickly in hospitals. Local healthcare professionals need the flexibility to react and adjust to properly staff the emergency room and hospital units.

The delivery of healthcare should not be boiled down to a simple set of numbers.

While supporters of ratios say it will help patients, it will do the opposite.

Hospitals will have to lay off key support staff and reduce services. At critically busy times when your local hospitals are needed most, they will be forced to divert patients further away to other hospitals to comply with the ratio mandate.

If this proposal passes, Illinois does not have enough nurses to meet the ratios.

The state already has a shortage of 21,000 nurses, and one-third of registered nurses plan to retire within the next five years.

Over the past 20 years, only one state in the country, California, has adopted nurse staffing ratios. After many studies on the experience in California, there is no conclusive evidence that ratios improve quality or patient outcomes.

On behalf of the more than 200 hospitals and health systems across the state, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association urges the General Assembly to reject House Bill 2604, or any other legislative proposal that would impose nurse staffing ratios.

It’s not good for patients or for healthcare.

A.J. Wilhelmi

President and CEO

Illinois Health and Hospital Association

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Fraternal Order of Police needs to stop attacking Kim Foxx

I want to thank Laura Washington for her column framing the Fraternal Order of Police attacks on Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

The FOP has used every opportunity to attack Foxx since she’s taken office. These attacks are clearly motivated by an organization that feels threatened by a city hungry for criminal justice reform and a city sick of paying millions every year for police abuses.

I worked as an educator for more than a decade with young people in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, and I appreciate the many very reasonable steps Foxx has taken to advance justice reform in Cook County.

The FOP is counting on the people of Chicago being too scared to call out their hypocrisy in demanding “justice”, when they have been shielded from facing justice for torture, corruption, and too many unlawful deaths (including that of Laquan McDonald).

I for one, am proud to have a state’s attorney that has recognized the tragic legacy of over-policing and over-incarceration. A state’s attorney who has vowed to do her part in ending mass incarceration. I’m proud of Foxx’s efforts to reform our bail system, revamp the conviction integrity unit, decline to prosecute misdemeanor marijuana cases, and prioritize serious crime instead of petty offenses.

I look forward to Foxx going even further, even faster, to make our justice system just.

I am glad that Washington had the courage to address the issue, and I look forward to even more unflinching coverage of the toxic political tensions that plague our city.

Amanda Klonsky, Logan Square