SENATE BILL 82
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2019
Gay G. Kernan and Elizabeth "Liz" Stefanics and Mary Kay Papen
FOR THE LEGISLATIVE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE
RELATING TO HEALTH CARE; ENACTING THE SAFE HARBOR FOR NURSES ACT; ESTABLISHING SAFE HARBOR FOR REGISTERED NURSES AND LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSES; REQUIRING EMPLOYERS TO OFFER SAFE HARBOR TO NURSES WHO ARE REQUESTED TO ENGAGE IN PRACTICES THAT NURSES BELIEVE TO BE IN VIOLATION OF THEIR LEGAL DUTIES; REQUIRING EMPLOYERS TO DEVELOP A PROCESS FOR INVOKING SAFE HARBOR; PREVENTING EMPLOYERS FROM DISCIPLINING NURSES FOR INVOKING SAFE HARBOR.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. [NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--This act may be cited as the "Safe Harbor for Nurses Act".
SECTION 2. [NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Safe Harbor for Nurses Act:
A. "assignment" means the designated responsibility for the provision or supervision of nursing care for a defined period of time in a defined work setting, including the specified functions, duties, practitioner orders, supervisory directives and amount of work designated as an individual nurse's responsibility; provided that changes in a nurse's assignment may occur at any time during the work period;
B. "good faith" means taking action supported by a sincere belief with a reasonable factual or legal basis;
C. "health care facility" means an entity licensed by the department of health that provides health care on its premises; and
D. "nurse" means a nurse licensed pursuant to the Nursing Practice Act as a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse.
SECTION 3. [NEW MATERIAL] SAFE HARBOR--HEALTH CARE FACILITY RESPONSIBILITY.--
A. A nurse may invoke safe harbor when:
(1) in the nurse's own judgment, the nurse lacks the basic knowledge, skills or abilities necessary to deliver nursing care that is safe and that meets the minimum standards of care to such an extent that accepting the assignment would expose one or more patients to an unjustifiable risk of harm or would constitute a violation of the Nursing Practice Act or board of nursing rules; or
(2) the nurse questions the medical reasonableness of another health care provider's order that the nurse is required to execute.
B. A health care facility shall develop a process by which a nurse employed or contracted by that facility may invoke safe harbor.
C. A safe harbor process shall include:
(1) notification to all nurses on staff as to how safe harbor may be invoked;
(2) notification by the nurse to the nurse's supervisor that the nurse is invoking safe harbor;
(3) written documentation with the date, time and location of the invocation of safe harbor and the reason for invocation, signed by the supervisor and the nurse; and
(4) documentation of the resolution of the matter in which safe harbor was invoked.
D. A health care facility shall not retaliate, demote, suspend, terminate, discipline, discriminate against or report any action to the board of nursing when a nurse makes a good faith request for safe harbor.
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