Liebling open to holding hearing on nurse staffing bill

Rochester DFL Rep. Tina Liebling is quoted in a Minnesota Public Radio story saying she doesn't plan to hold a hearing on the nurse staffing bill. But in an interview this morning, she said she made those comments last week and since then things have changed somewhat. She is still not a fan of the bill, but she is open to holding a hearing on it.

"I am open to it. I am trying to get the parties to work together. This is a big issues and leadership is very interested in it, and I'm doing my best," she said.

The bill backed by the Minnesota Nurses Association would require hospitals to maintain staffing levels that meet national standards. In the cases where there are not clear standards, the Minnesota Department of Health would determine those standards, relying on "evidence-based research" and would consult with the Minnesota Hospital Association, Minnesota Nursing Association, the Minnesota Licensed Practical Nurse Association and the Minnesota Medical Association. The bill prohibits hospitals from laying off employees as a result of this legislation. It would also require hospitals to report their hours-per-patient spent by registered nurses in all patient care units.

The nurse staffing bill puts Lieblingin a tough spot. Mayo Clinic, along with other hospitals in the state,  is strongly opposed to the bill. But the measure has the strong backing of several DFL lawmakers. Personally, Liebling said she remains opposed to the proposal.

"The bottom line really is a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work, and I am not saying there are not problems in any hospitals — there may be. But I don't think that is a solution that should be imposed from the top down no matter the size or situation," she said.

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