Through the remainder of the year in this space, ASA will recap the association’s efforts in successfully defeating or significantly mitigating proposed legislation that would have harmed the staffing industry.
In January, the New Hampshire legislature looked to introduce a bill that would require New Hampshire nurse agencies to register with the state’s Department of Health. Many states have licensing laws that prescribe basic nurse agency operating standards in the interest of patient safety and quality of care, which ASA supports. But this proposal did much more.
As introduced, SB 149 would have required nurse agencies to submit quarterly reports to the health department, by county, on each health care facility they contract with. The reports would have required agencies to detail the charges made to the facility for each licensed health care employee category, the average amount paid to employees in each category, and the average labor-related costs incurred by the agency in each category. In addition, agencies would have had to amend their client contracts to include a detailed schedule of the agency’s pay and bill rates for every category of employee, including average hourly base pay rates, plus hazard pay, shift differentials, overtime, holiday pay, and travel and mileage pay.
Through written testimony and meetings with lawmakers, ASA stressed that—while the industry supported reasonable quality-focused rules—the proposed reporting and record-keeping mandates would have increased nurse agency costs and required disclosure of confidential business information that has no relationship to operating standards, patient safety, or quality of care.
The association’s New Hampshire lobbyist, Bruce Berke with Sheehan Phinney Capitol Group, met with key legislators and was successful in getting onerous requirements removed. The bill was amended to establish a simple and straightforward registration process. Gov. Chris Sununu signed the bill into law in August.