Proposed Nurse Staffing Levels Costly, Study Finds

From Times Wire Reports

An analysis of proposed staffing ratios of nurses to patients determined the changes could cost California hospitals millions of dollars, according to a study released Thursday.

The Public Policy Institute of California analyzed three proposed staffing ratios. In main medical and surgical wards, a ratio of one nurse to 10 patients is supported by hospitals, while a ratio of 1-to-4 is backed by the Service Employees International Union and Kaiser Permanente, the state's largest private health care system. A third proposal from the California Nurses Assn. suggests a 1-to-3 ratio.

The ratios could send hospital costs up for RNs by between 5% and 41%, according to the study.

At least 50% of California hospitals would have to make changes to conform to the new regulations, according to the analysis.

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