NY bill would mandate hospital nurse staffing
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A push to increase the number of nurses per patient at New York's 185 acute care hospitals pits promises of fewer patient deaths and complications against a billion dollars or more in annual health care costs. Advocates say required staffing of one nurse for every two intensive-care patients and 1-to-4 ratios in regular medical-surgical units will improve patient care, reduce deaths, complaints and readmissions and leave hospitals financially intact. Jared Birnbaum is a registered nurse who works overnight shifts in the emergency room at the 650-bed Westchester Medical Center, a regional trauma center. After 3 a.m., he says he's typically among five or six nurses for both the adult and pediatric emergency rooms, where one serious trauma patient can require three nurses.
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