As the New York state legislature considers a bill to set minimum staffing levels for nurses in the state’s hospitals, the state’s largest nurses’ union is pushing for the bill to become law.
On Wednesday, members and supporters of the New York State Nurses Association gathered at the Manhattan offices of the Greater New York Hospital Association to show their support for the pending legislation. Roughly 700 people expressed confidence that new staffing ratios of 1 nurse to 4 patients in regular care settings and 1 nurse to 2 patients in intensive care units would increase the quality of patient care and reduce the number of unnecessary deaths.
The nurses are not alone; a representative of the Doctor’s Council was quoted by the Associated Press as crediting nurses as “the heart of health care” and advocating for hospitals to increase their investment in nursing.
The Greater New York Hospital Association’s spokespeople responded to the union’s rally with contentions that the proposed nurse staffing ratios would not only cost more money (an estimated $3 billion per year), but would also “deny hospitals the workforce flexibility they need to respond to emergencies”. It is unclear how higher nurse staffing levels would negatively impact hospitals in relation to the second assertion, as having more nurses on hand during an emergency would be the logical response.
It is unclear whether or when the proposed bill will be brought to the state assembly for a vote. In the meantime, hospitals that choose to adjust staffing levels of their own accord may find it possible and cost-effective in the short term by working with local nurse staffing agencies.
If the bill does pass, temporary nurse staffing agencies stand to benefit greatly from what will likely be an acute need to meet new ratios quickly. New York nurse staffing agencies can prepare now by closing payment gaps. With more than a decade in the healthcare industry, PRN Funding can help nurse staffing agencies access immediate working capital to increase their workforce through nurse staffing factoring. Find out more about PRN Funding’s nurse staffing factoring programs and apply online today.