Just waiting on the Gov. to sign: New York State Senate Passes Nursing Care Quality Protection Act

The New York State Senate has passed the Nursing Care Quality Protection Act, which requires healthcare facilities to disclose information about nurse staffing to state regulators and the public. The measure has been a top priority for the New York State Nurses Association.

As the amount of care from registered nurses has a significant impact on patients' health and safety, consistent documentation is needed to determine staffing patterns in hospitals. Numerous studies have shown that higher nurse staffing is associated with lower rates of infection, cardiac arrest, and other complications.

The bill passed the State Assembly by a unanimous vote earlier this year.

The legislation requires each hospital to report the numbers of RNs and LPNs providing direct care and the ratio of patients to nurses; the number of unlicensed personnel providing direct care; the incidence of adverse patient events such as medication errors and injuries; and the method the hospital uses for determining and adjusting staffing levels.

"Information about nurse staffing is crucial to patients and should be available to them and their families," said Tina Gerardi, RN, chief executive officer of the Nurses Association. "Nurses across the state are expecting Gov. Paterson to help us protect patients and sign this bill into law."

Gerardi thanked the state legislature for supporting the bill, especially Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and State Senator Thomas Duane for their work in sponsoring the legislation.

The New York State Nurses Association