Senate Rejects Patient-Nurse Ratios

A nurse-patient safety bill has cleared the Senate, but substantial differences with the House will make reaching a resolution difficult.

WBUR's Martha Bebinger reports.

BEBINGER: In the Senate version, hospitals, working with nurses would set their own nurse staffing plans, while the House would have the state set nurse to patient ratios. Many lawmakers are hoping House and Senate negotiators reach a compromise that puts the contentious issue to rest. But David Schildmeier with the Massachusetts Nurses Association says the union wants the House bill or nothing.

SCHILDMEIER: If they don't have a bill that sets safe limits on patient assignment for nurses, which is what is proven will help them, then no bill is worth it because conditions will continue to deteriorate and no one will be helped.

BEBINGER: Hospital leaders say the Senate version is a compromise that gives the state more oversight but still leaves flexibility for changing medical and patient needs.

This program aired on July 18, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.


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