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Staffing Ratio Bills Are No Solution: HANYS

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HANYS is opposing legislation (A.2264, Gottfried/S.3843, Duane) that would impose nurse staffing ratios in hospitals, and a bill (A.1718, Gottfried) that would impose staffing ratios in nursing homes for nurses, other licensed personnel, and aides. The legislation is on the Assembly health committee agenda for consideration next week. HANYS is asking members to contact their legislators to oppose these bills.

“Meeting the proposed ratios would require tens of thousands of new nursing staff and would literally cost billions, forcing hospitals and nursing homes to recruit from fellow providers, curtail needed services, divert more patients from emergency rooms, and cancel surgeries,” commented HANYS’ President Daniel Sisto.

HANYS points out that ratios do not provide the needed flexibility to adapt to patients/residents with different needs that can change quickly. Staffing is determined by a host of complex, interrelated factors that appropriately vary across facilities including the specific needs of the patient; the experience, education, and preparation of the staff; the use of technology; the physical layout of the facility; and the number and competencies of clinical and non-clinical staff.

Despite the temporary easing of the shortage in some areas due to the economic downturn, there have been severe workforce shortages in recent years, growing shortages are forecasted, and the capacity of nursing schools continues to be stressed.

“It is incomprehensible that these bills would be considered when hospitals and nursing homes have experienced multiple, deep budget cuts, when there is no real effort to increase the supply of nurses, and with no funding to pay for this multi-billion dollar mandate,” said Mr. Sisto.

Published May 8, 2009