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Seven more senators sign on to nurse-to-patient ratios bill

by jmaloni

Press release

Sat, May 25th 2013 02:00 pm

Bill to protect patient care has 86 co-sponsors in the Assembly

Seven senators from across the state and across party lines are standing together for better patient care for New Yorkers. They have just signed on to the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act (A6571/S3691-A), a bill that would limit the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time.

The seven new supporters in the senate are George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane), Jose Peralta (D-Bronx), Cecilia Tkaczyk (D-Albany), David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester), Martin Malave Dilan (D-Kings) and Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), bringing the total number of Senate sponsors to 23.

More than 1,500 nurses from across the state took part in the Safe Staffing Day of Action - the largest lobbying effort to date to pass the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act.

"This bill is aimed at maintaining a high standard of patient care, from admission to discharge. When nurses are spread too thin, there is just too much risk," Maziarz said.

"Emergency rooms and residential health care facilities must be places where patients get the timely attention and care they need," Krueger said. "Allowing nurses at these critical facilities to be spread too thin is penny-wise but pound-foolish, and will result in worsened health outcomes and ultimately higher costs."

"I am proud to co-sponsor the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act," Peralta said. "This commonsense legislation is necessary to ensure that the most sick and vulnerable New Yorkers have the care they need when they need it. With this measure, we can improve patient outcomes and experience while avoiding unnecessary health care costs caused by readmissions and avoidable malpractice suits."

"I've been shocked to see New York emergency room nurses who are being forced to take on 15, 16 and even more patients at a time. That's not safe," said Jill Furillo, RN, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association. "In California, the law says that a hospital cannot assign more than four patients at a time to an ER nurse - and sets minimum safe staffing levels for all hospital units. There's no reason New York patients can't have that same protection. Patients and caregivers are counting on our lawmakers to pass the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act this session."

The Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act, similar to a bill that has already been enacted in California, will require all acute care facilities to comply with safe minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. The bill would also require all residential health care facilities to comply with minimum care hours for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nurse aides.

Safe staffing levels, the association said, will cut health care system costs, reduce the occurrence of avoidable patient deaths, decrease incidents of hospital-acquired infections, shorten hospital stays, and decrease readmissions.

With more than 37,000 members, the New York State Nurses Association is the state's largest professional association and union for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.

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