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Rep. Kent Smith applauds House passage of bipartisan bill to prohibit mandatory overtime for nurses

House Bill 163 would protect patients and support nurses
June 10, 2021
Kent Smith News

State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today applauded the House passage of House Bill (HB) 163, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) and Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) that prohibits mandatory overtime work for nurses as a condition of continued employment. The bill passed by a strong vote of 82-12. 

“I was proud to cosponsor House Bill 163 to help protect Ohio nurses.  I have cosponsored similar legislation in past General Assembly terms.  In all truth, I am mystified that this has not yet become Ohio law.

The profession of nursing is as demanding as it is critical.  Nurses are the front line practitioners of health care.  They administer and evaluate the treatment plan for multitudes of patients.   In that capacity, nurses are often the greatest advocate for health care consumers.  House Bill 163 protects nurses from abusive employment  practices which saves lives because it helps nurses perform at their highest standard.  This legislation protects nurses and patients and it needs to become law,” said Rep. Smith. 

Specifically, HB 163 prohibits a hospital from requiring a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse to work in excess of agreed upon, predetermined, scheduled full-time or part-time work week as a condition of continued employment. Further, hospitals cannot terminate employment, propose termination, take disciplinary or retaliatory action, or propose disciplinary or retaliatory action if a nurse decides not to work unscheduled overtime. 

A report by the National Institutes of Health found that nurses who work more than 12 and a half hours are at triple the risk of making a medical error, both compromising patient care and contributing to rates of nurse burnout. Medical error is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States.

HB 163 awaits further consideration before the Ohio Senate.