Safe Staffing Ratios
As your constituent, I urge you to support S.1032 (Rivera)/A.2954 (Gunther). This legislation requires acute care facilities and nursing homes to implement certain direct care nurse-to-patient ratios in all nursing units and imposes penalties for violations of these ratios.
This legislation is needed in New York State to protect patient safety, ensure the delivery of quality health care and to improve the working conditions of health care professionals. Licensed nurses constitute the highest percentage of direct health care staff in acute care facilities and have a central role in the delivery of health care. Inadequate and poorly monitored nurse staffing practices jeopardize the delivery of quality health care services and adversely impact the health of patients who enter acute care facilities, resulting in dangerous medical errors and patient infections.
Staffing in many of our hospitals and health care facilities has been cut to dangerously low levels and there is currently no recognized standard for appropriate staffing levels in hospitals and other facilities providing nursing services. The enactment of this legislation would help ensure that the public receives safe, appropriate and high quality health care.
There is a clear connection between the amount of nurse staffing hours and the quality of care that patients receive. A growing body of evidence has shown that the rate of mortality in acute care settings decreases as the number of registered nurses-to-patients increases. Further, the rate of injury and infection decreases as the number of licensed nursing staff increases. Research shows that appropriate nursing interventions can reduce the length of stay in acute care settings and improve the quality of life in long-term care settings.
This bill establishes satisfactory minimum nurse-to-patient staff plans both in hospitals and health care facilities that provide nursing services by:
Establishing staffing standards for licensed nurses in acute care facilities and nursing homes in New York State would ensure that these facilities operate in a manner that guarantees the safe delivery of quality health care services.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I respectfully ask that you bring up this issue with your conference and I look forward to a reply to my letter.
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