Proposals call for minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in PA hospitals

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Apr 7, 2013 7:06 AM
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(Harrisburg) -- Hospitals in Pennsylvania would be required to meet minimum nurse-to-patient ratios under bills introduced in the state legislature.

Supporters say the measures could improve patient safety and save money in the long run.

Patty Eakin is the president of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals.

She says safety is her biggest concern in hospitals today.

"Patients can suffer, and suffering is not just dying. You may have medication errors made, you may have medications missed, treatments missed, all kinds of mistakes that get made," Eakin says.

She says a University of Pennsylvania study finds California's nurse-to-patient ratio requirements are working in preventing deaths.

The Golden State is the only one to have such requirements.

Pennsylvania hospitals have long opposed ratio requirements, which they say ignore the many variables involved in staffing.

Similar bills have been previously unsuccessful at the state Capitol.

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