SB 0788 Amends "whistleblower" statute for certain employees, and modifies health care licensing and training standards
LR Number:3148S.11T Fiscal Note:3148-11
Committee:Financial and Governmental Organization
Last Action:07/13/00 - Signed by Governor Journal page:
Title:CCS HS HCS SB 788
Effective Date:August 28, 2000
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Current Bill Summary

CCS/HS/HCS/SB 788 - This act provides whistleblower protection for certain employees, requires proper training of health care staff, and modifies hospital licensure standards.

Sections 105.055, 105.058 - Modifies the law regarding "whistleblowing" by state employees. Current law prohibits agencies from disciplining employees for disclosing mismanagement, waste of funds and abuse of authority but allows discipline if the employee releases information with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity. This act allows discipline only if the employee knows that the information is false. The act also provides that agencies cannot prohibit employees from contacting the State Auditor.

Section 197.285 - Requires hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers (ASC) to establish and implement a written policy for protection of whistleblowers. The policy must include an investigation time frame of less than thirty days and a notification procedure. The policy must be submitted to the Department of Health to verify implementation and the Department will have access to all information. Complainants will be notified of the Department's access and of their right to appeal to the Department. Compliance officials must report misconduct to authorities within seven days of determining a violation. "Whistleblowers" may maintain their anonymity and must be notified of action within 48 hours of the receipt of their report.

Section 1 - By July 1, 2001, all hospitals and ASCs must provide training programs within ninety days of hiring any unlicensed staff that provide patient care. Documentation of training programs must be submitted to the Department of Health.

Section 2 - Requires all hospitals and ASCs to implement a methodology to ensure adequate nurse staffing.

Section 3 - Establishes a "Technical Advisory Committee on the Quality of Patient Care and Nursing Practices" to consist of nine members appointed by the Department Director. The Committee will recommend and annually report on staffing, quality patient care, and employment of nurses.

Sections 4 & 5 - Enacts specific standards to which the Department must adhere when licensing hospitals and ASCs and give hospitals and ASCs appeal rights in licensure decisions.

Section 197.285 has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2001. The provisions of Section 3 will expire on December 31, 2006.

Portions of this act are substantially similar to HB 1747.