February 10, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Albany, NY – Nurses’ labor unions in New York have been lobbying local governments to support requiring hospitals to have a minimum number of nurses per unit. The Assembly Health Committee approved the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act on Jan. 21, but similar bills have failed to advance in the past.
Urged by the New York State Nurses Association and the Communications Workers of America, Buffalo and several of its suburbs have passed resolutions endorsing the legislation, as have Ulster, Schenectady, and Erie counties. “It is well documented that hospitals with better staff ratios have lower rates of problems such as pneumonia, shock, and cardiac arrest,” Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) said in a statement. The bill would mandate a 1-to-1 patient-to-staff ratio in operating rooms and a 3-to-1 ratio in emergency rooms. Hospital trade groups oppose it, saying hospitals have varying needs. NYSNA has made staffing ratios a key demand in recent contract talks. Read more