New York to consider rule calling for 1 nurse for every 2 critical care patients in hospitals

A proposed regulation drafted by the New York State Department of Health requires hospitals to assign at least one nurse for every two patients in critical care units.

The proposed regulation is a result of rulemaking necessitated by the addition of Section 2805-t to the Public Health Law under Chapter 155 of the Laws of 2021, state officials told Becker's. It is part of a state law signed in 2021 mandating hospitals to 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

The proposed regulation is on the agenda of the New York State Health Department Public Health and Health Planning Council's June 15 Codes Committee meeting. 

State officials said the full council will meet on June 29, at which point the proposed regulation could be considered for adoption. 

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. 

"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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