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New York now has safe patient handling legislation

Publish Date: 4/29/2014

Late last month, the New York legislature passed Senate Bill 6914, which enacted major components of legislation necessary to implement the state health and mental hygiene budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. It also amended the public health and insurance law in relation to safe patient handling.

NY SB 6914 recognizes that it is in the public interest for health care facilities to implement safe patient handling policies. Not only do patients benefit from improved quality of care, caregivers benefit from the reduced risk of injuries. The bill requires a safe patient handling workgroup which will review safe patient handling programs and policy, identify or develop training materials for consideration by health care facilities, and submit a report by July 1, 2015, identifying best practices, sample policies, and tools useful for providers to meet the goals of safe patient handling policies.

The bill also requires each health care facility to establish a safe patient handling committee before January 1, 2016 to design and recommend a process for implementing a safe patient handling program. At least one employee representative will be appointed on behalf of nurses. Perioperative nurse leaders should seek an appointment on their facility’s committee to ensure any new policies and programs account for the safe patient handling challenges unique to the operating room. 

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