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Hospital Nurse Staffing Standards

Concerning the preparedness of health facilities to meet patient needs, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2022 Regular Session
Labor & Employment
Bill Summary

The act requires every hospital to establish, by September 1, 2022, a nurse staffing committee pursuant to rules promulgated by the state board of health, either by creating a new committee or assigning the nurse staffing functions to an existing hospital staffing committee. The nurse staffing committee must have at least 60% or greater participation by clinical staff nurses. The nurse staffing committee is required to:

  • Annually develop and oversee a master nurse staffing plan;
  • Submit a recommended staffing plan to the hospital's senior nurse executive and governing body; and
  • Receive, track, and resolve complaints and receive feedback from direct-care nurses and other staff.

The act requires a hospital to:

  • Submit the nurse staffing plan to the department of public health and environment (department) on an annual basis;
  • Post the nurse staffing plan on the hospital's website;
  • Evaluate the nurse staffing plan on a quarterly basis and, based on complaints and recommendations of patients and staff, revise the nurse staffing plan accordingly; and
  • Prepare an annual report containing the details of the evaluation.

The act prohibits a hospital from assigning direct-care providers to a nursing unit or clinical area of a hospital unless the providers are properly trained in the unit or area assigned.

On or before September 1, 2022, in a form and manner determined by rules promulgated by the state board of health, each hospital is required to report:

  • The baseline number of beds the hospital is able to staff; and
  • The hospital's current bed capacity.

If the hospital's ability to meet staffed-bed capacity falls below 80% of the required baseline in a specified period, the hospital is required to notify the department and submit a plan to meet that requirement.

The act requires the department to notify a hospital if the hospital's number of staffed beds exceeds 80% of a hospital's total licensed beds and fine the hospital if the hospital does not take corrective action.

Each hospital is required to update its emergency plan at least annually and as often as necessary, as circumstances warrant.

The act authorizes the department to fine a hospital up to $10,000 per day for the hospital's failure to:

  • Meet the required staffed-bed capacity;
  • Include the amount of necessary vaccines for administration in its annual emergency plan and, to the extent they are available, have the vaccines available at each of its facilities; and
  • Include the necessary testing capabilities, to the extent they are available at each of its facilities.

The act grants rule-making authority to the department and to the state board of health.

The act requires the department to report certain data to its committee of reference as part of its presentation at the hearing held pursuant to the "State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act".

The act requires the office of saving people money on health care in the office of the lieutenant governor (office) to study:

  • The level of preparedness of health facilities to respond to post-viral illness resulting from the COVID-19 virus;
  • The effects of post-viral illness resulting from the COVID-19 virus on the mental, behavioral, and physical health and the financial security of the people of Colorado; and
  • The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cost of health care in Colorado and on the resiliency of Colorado's public health system.

The act requires the office to annually report its findings to the governor and to coordinate, monitor, and support efforts to improve affordability of health care, health outcomes, and public health readiness in state programs and departments.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details