Nurse Staffing Ratio & Safe Patient Handling Legislation

Esq. Stephen B. Hanse in Legislative

The scheduled 2013 Legislative Session is winding down today. While the Legislature is passing diverse legislation ranging from casino gaming, women’s equality, and tax exemptions for certain educational locations throughout the State, there are two bills that through the steadfast efforts of NYSHFA and its Members, were not passed by both the Senate and the Assembly – the Nurse staffing ratio bill and the safe patient handling bill.


Nurse Staffing Ratios


The New York State Nurses Association (“NYSNA”), working with several other unions made passage of the minimum nurse staffing legislation (S.3691-A/A.6571) their top priority during the 2013 legislative session.  This legislation, which has over 75 sponsors in the Assembly, would mandate specific nurse-to-patient staffing ratios for residential health care facilities and hospitals throughout New York.  Specifically this legislation requires a staffing ratio at residential health care facilities equal to at least the following:
·    2.8 hours of care per resident per day by a CNA;
·    1.3 hours of care per resident per day by an LPN or RN; and
·    0.75 hours of care per resident per day by an RN.


Additionally, the legislation requires residential health care facilities that care for subacute patients must maintain a minimum nurse-to-patient ratio of one nurse to five patients.


NYSHFA worked closely with the sponsors of this legislation, numerous legislators, key staff and other affected organizations to oppose this initiative and were successful in preventing the enactment of this extremely detrimental legislation.


Safe Patient Handling


NYSNA’s second priority initiative this legislative session was a bill referred to as the “safe patient handling” bill (S.1123-B/A.2180-B). This legislation mandates the purchase and utilization of mechanical lifts through the establishment a statewide safe patient handling policy and facility specific safe patient handling committees. Among other things, this legislation fails to ensure that a resident’s plan of care plan would supersede the patient handling policy mandated by the bill.


As with the nurse staffing ratio legislation, NYSHFA actively worked with the sponsors of this legislation, other legislators, key staff and affected organizations to oppose this initiative and were successful in preventing the enactment of this legislation.


A complete 2013 Legislative Session summary will be issued following NYSHFA’s Annual Convention.