Assembly Committee Passes Bill to Set Nursing Home Staffing Ratios
The Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday passed legislation (AB 1075) to establish nurse-to-patient ratios in California nursing homes, the Contra Costa Times reports. The bill requires that by 2004, caregivers would care for no more than five patients on day shifts, 10 patients on evening shifts and 15 on night shifts. Current law does not mandate a patient/nurse ratio, but requires patients to receive a minimum of 3.2 hours of direct staff care every 24 hours. Assembly Majority Leader Kevin Shelley (D-San Francisco), the bill's sponsor, estimated the state's cost to maintain the bill's staffing levels at "only $20 million this year" and between $140 million and $160 million in the next two years through reimbursements to homes. Shelley said, "I am confident we'll get it in the budget." But some remain skeptical that the bill will help ease the current nurse staffing "crisis." Dave Helmsin, legislative advocate for the California Association of Health Facilities, said the bill does not offer nursing homes increased funding for patient care. "There's not a dime of reimbursement in here. This is an incomplete measure" (Peele, Contra Costa Times, 4/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.