New York mandates 1-2 nurse-patient ratio for critical care

A proposed regulation drafted by the New York State Department of Health requiring hospitals to assign at least one nurse for every two patients in critical care units was adopted unanimously June 29 by the department's Public Health and Health Planning Council, state officials confirmed to Becker's.

The proposed regulation is a result of rule-making necessitated by the addition of Section 2805-t to the Public Health Law under Chapter 155 of the Laws of 2021, state officials said. It is part of a state law signed in 2021 mandating hospitals establish clinical staffing committees. 

"There shall be a minimum of one registered professional nurse assigned to care for every two patients that an attending practitioner determines to require intensive or critical care," the regulation says, according to the New York Post

States across the U.S. have considered or adopted legislation related to staffing in hospitals. New York's law requires hospitals to establish clinical staffing committees composed of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, ancillary staff members and hospital administrators, and for the committees to develop clinical staffing plans.

"The proposed clinical staffing requirement codifies standard industry practice and places patient health and safety first," state officials said earlier in June. "The proposed regulation allows each hospital to collaboratively develop clinical staffing plans with nurses and other staff, and this hospital-by-hospital approach will enable facilities to balance what is best for the patient and workforce while taking into account the varying needs of each individual hospital."

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