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Clinical staffing committee bill passes both Houses

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign into law a bill requiring every hospital to create a joint labor-management clinical staffing committee, made up of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, ancillary staff providing direct patient care, and hospital administrators.

Under the leadership of Sen. Gustavo Rivera, chair of the Senate Health Committee, and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, chair of the Assembly Mental Health Committee, both the Senate and Assembly passed legislation, which, for the first time, will require the direct involvement of nurses in hospital staffing plan development and implementation.

“While this legislation represents an important step forward, PEF continues to advocate for the expansion of this important patient safety measure to cover other state facilities that render care for New Yorkers, including DOCCS, OMH, OPWDD and OCFS,” said PEF President Wayne Spence.

The committees will be responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of a clinical staffing plan that will include specific guidelines or ratios, matrices, or grids indicating how many patients are assigned to each nurse and the number of ancillary staff in each unit. Committees will be responsible for reviewing staffing plans, adjusting plans, and responding to complaints for variations from the plans.

The bill also calls for creation of an independent Advisory Commission consisting of nine members, including experts in staffing standards and quality of patient care; labor organizations; and hospital representatives. The Governor, Assembly Speaker, and Temporary President of the Senate will appoint one member for each of the three categories.

Click here to view the individual bills: S.1168-A (Sen. Rivera)/A.108-B (Gunther).

Click here to read PEF’s full memo on the legislation.