Nurses Hail Passage of Safe Staffing Bills
Thursday, May 6, 2021
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Nurses say passage of bills to set and enforce adequate nursing staff levels in New York hospitals and nursing homes will save lives.
The bills, Senate Bill 1168A and Senate Bill 6346 passed in both the state Senate and Assembly with bipartisan support. Once signed into law, they will affect every hospital and nursing home in the state, both public and private.
Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, president of the New York State Nurses Association, said hospitals will ultimately be required to abide by minimum nurse-to-patient ratios set by clinical staffing committees annually, and nursing homes will have to meet standards for daily nursing time for each resident.
"This law is a pathway toward getting the kind of support that patients need in order to get the care that they deserve," Sheridan-Gonzalez stated.
Opponents of the legislation said it will strain the resources of financially struggling long-term care facilities. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not said if he will sign the bills.
The Nurses Association said understaffing at New York hospitals and nursing homes has been a chronic problem. And Sheridan-Gonzalez noted the pandemic added urgency to finding a solution.
"This is what the trauma was that we faced during COVID, making life-and-death decisions based on scarcity," Sheridan-Gonzalez explained. "We had staffing based on scarcity, we had PPE based on scarcity, and people got sick and died directly related to that."
The law will require the state Department of Health to establish new minimum staffing standards for intensive care units and critical-care units, which must go into hospitals' annual staffing plans.
And Sheridan-Gonzalez pointed out the law requires hospitals to make staffing data publicly available to staff and patients.
"Now the public will be made aware," Sheridan-Gonzalez remarked. "There's transparency and accountability in what hospitals actually have on deck taking care of patients."
The bills also establish an independent commission to study the effectiveness of the new law, and to make recommendations for further legislative action.
get more stories like this via email
By Tom Perkins for Planet Detroit.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Michigan News Connection with support from the Solutions Journalism Network…
By Jared Brey for Governing.Broadcast version by Deborah Van Fleet for Missouri News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-Public New…
South Dakota is once again locked in a debate over a bill concerning transgender youth. It seeks to ban gender-affirming care, with supporters …
While the Pennsylvania House is still out of session and won't resume until late February, the public and advocacy groups are voicing their concerns…
Better health and educational outcomes are being touted as the potential benefits as Minnesota lawmakers discuss whether to provide free school meals …
CORRECTION: YouthTruth surveyed more than 28,000 high school seniors from the class of 2022 and the class of 2019 in 19 states, including New York…
For more than two decades, a workforce development program in El Paso has invested in the economically disadvantaged to help them attain the …
Engineers with the University of Maine say the successful construction of the world's first bio-based, 3D-printed house could help alleviate the …