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Nurses Push NY Lawmakers To Pass Minimum Staffing Law

Nearly 2,000 nurses from around New York state traveled to the state Capitol in Albany to urge lawmakers to pass a minimum staffing law that would mandate how many nurses are on duty at hospitals and nursing homes.

The bill has been discussed since the 1990s but recently picked up increased bipartisan support, giving nurses hope that it will pass before lawmakers adjourn in June.

Nurses say the bill would address significant understaffing that worsens patient outcomes. But hospital executives say they need flexibility in staffing levels and that the proposal would cost patients billions of dollars to implement.

The proposal sets out different staffing ratios for specific departments like operating rooms, emergency units and newborn nurseries.

California implemented a staffing rule more than a decade ago.

© 2016 AP

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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