Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 7, 2013
Contact: Megan Hanson, (512) 463-0112

Patient Safety Legislation Passes Out Of Committee

AUSTIN —The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services today unanimously approved three bills by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, to increase patient safety in hospitals, psychiatric facilities and state hospitals. The three bills include:

SB 152 - State Hospital Patient Safety: SB 152 expands protections for patients at state hospitals by increasing oversight, enhancing employee training and strengthening abuse and neglect reporting requirements. It requires specialized training for state hospital employees on patient caregiving and how to recognize and report abuse; authorizes the Office of Inspector General to investigate criminal offenses at state hospitals; allows DSHS to require state hospital direct care workers to undergo federal background checks based on risk assessments; and requires professional boards to report cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. "I was disappointed to learn of the preventable tragedies that were reported at our state hospitals during the interim period. These patients arrive in our facilities in their most vulnerable states, and we have a responsibility to ensure their safety."

SB 944 - Psychiatric Patient Protection: SB 944 is intended to protect patients in the psychiatric units of our hospitals. It requires criminal history checks for non-licensed employees working in mental health units of our hospitals and bars individuals who have committed violent crimes from employment, ensuring that all workers who have direct access to patients undergo basic background checks. "Senate Bill 944 responds to unfortunate incidents where patients were harmed by individuals who had no business working in this environment. We have a responsibility to protect patients from individuals with violent histories."

SB 945 - Hospital Name Badges: SB 945 requires all hospital health care providers to wear badges with photo identification and clearly stating their names, their departments, and their job or trainee titles to better help patients identify their caregivers and their training. "Often, hospital patients arrive disoriented, distracted and scared. They deserve clear information about who is caring for them and the level of training they have received."

EDITOR'S NOTE: All quotes in the capsules above are attributable to Senator Nelson.

SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.

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