Hospital says "no" to mandatory nursing ratios: steps you can take to make sure your hospital has the best nurse-to-patient ratio

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice
Recently, in a contentious negotiation with its nurses, Ellis Hosital refused to accept the demand for mandatory nursing ratios in its union contract with nurses.  A key demand of the nurses union at Ellis Hospital was the demand to have staffing levels written into the contract.  Ellis Hospital's response: "no way".

Instead, Ellis Hospital agreed to expand the scope of a staffing oversight committee that includes nurses and managers.  A "staffing oversight committee" may be a step in the right direction, but it might just as easily be a facade to mollify the nurses into thinking they won a concession.  However, with a specific nurse to patient ratio, the "staffing oversight committee" has no means to enforce better staffing of nurses, certified nurses aides and licensed practical nurses.

Why you want to know the nurse-to-patient ratio at your hospital

This has real consequences to patients, as lower staffing and less qualified staffing, i.e., replacing registered nurses with certified nurses' aides, significantly impacts the quality of care provided to patients.  Understaffing is the number one problem for hospitals in America. There is a direct correlation between the quality of care received by patients and the ratio of nurses to patients.

How you can find out about nurse-to-patient ratios at your hospital

The next time you or your loved one is admitted to a hospital, ask the nurse supervisor about the nurse-to-patient ratio.  If the nurse supervisor avoids giving an answer, tell her that the Public Health Law section 2805-t, known as the Nursing Care Quality Protection Act, requires that hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and diagnostic and treatment centers make nurse-to-patient ratios available to the public in New York.  The law also requires hospitals and nursing homes to report the number of registered nurses adn licensed practical nurses (LPNs) providing direct care, the ratio of full-time nurses to patients, the number of unlicensed workers providing direct care, and information on complaints filed against the hospital and hospital staffing policies.

I welcome your phone call if you want more information

If you want more information on nurse-to-patient ratios, I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 866-889-6882.  You can always request a FREE copy of my book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.
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