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Hearings Vowed on Nursing Legislation

From Associated Press

The Legislature will conduct hearings “very shortly” into what the Senate’s leader said Wednesday was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “egregious” refusal to follow lawmakers’ intent to put more nurses in California hospitals.

“We’re going to be like junkyard dogs on this issue,” said Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland), who added that Schwarzenegger has repeatedly “violated” the Legislature’s intentions that hospitals provide one nurse for each five patients in medical and surgical units.

“Once we enacted it into law and it was part of the budget, it’s the administration’s job to implement the mandate,” Perata said. “And since they not only didn’t carry it out, they’re apparently going to appeal the court decision, they’re way afield of where we are.”

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A Sacramento judge ruled earlier this month that the governor illegally suspended the law requiring more nurses in California hospitals.

Perata’s remarks followed a claim Wednesday by the California Nurses Assn., which said the Schwarzenegger administration paid hospitals to implement the one-in-five staffing ratios but many haven’t done it. The union said the budget approved by the governor paid $15 million to dozens of hospitals throughout California and $12 million to managed care networks.

The union also couldn’t determine which hospitals got the money but didn’t implement the new staffing levels, which some hospitals say is impossible because of a statewide nursing shortage.


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