Parker wants safe staffing bill into law by 2017

Parker wants safe staffing bill into law by 2017
Sen. Kevin Parker.

Nurses who work in hospitals could soon find their jobs easier if this new bill aimed to decrease patient ratio passes.

The Safe Staffing for Hospital Care Act bill was introduced to the New York State Senate in 2009 by state Sen. Kevin Parker (D–East Flatbush), who sponsors the bill. The safe staffing bill would introduce a law that would require hospitals to assign an adequate number of patients per nurse and enforce proper staffing in hospitals. It would allow better patient care and create more jobs.

“The whole focus of this bill is to make sure that we have enough nurses to address the issues of people in our community, and increase the quality of care, to make sure enough nurses on duty,” Sen. Parker. “The second thing is to keep us from overworking nurses, and causing injury to nurses. This would affect them positively.”

With support from the New York State Nurses Association, unfortunately the bill — now seven years since it was introduced — has not reached the senate floor, which Sen. Parker hopes changes in 2017 when the senate voting session returns. The bill is currently in the senate health committee. Although the bill will not benefit nurses who work in nursing homes, hospices, or other medical facilities that are not hospitals, Parker hopes it can transcend to different facilities the quicker the bill gets passed.

The bill would also ensure that nurses working in the field are fully educated and licensed. The mandate would also help minimize accidents and mistakes caused by overworked nurses, and would ensures better accountability and provide better health care. Parker is confident that Gov. Cuomo will sign the bill into law when it passes the senate, but emphasized that he wants more support from nurses.

“I think Cuomo will support it because it’s good for patients in hospitals,” said Parker. “But we really need more support from nurses groups.”

Other supporters of the bill are state Sen. Tony Avella who is a co-sponsor as well as Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, who sponsored the bill in the Assembly.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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