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State to study proposal to mandate minimum staffing levels for nursing homes, hospitals

Healthcare officials are searching for a solution to apparent understaffing problems in many of the worst-rated nursing homes in Western New York. Residents in some of those facilities often wait a long time for assistance for basic needs.

A state-mandated proposal to hire more employees in hospitals and nursing homes, in order to improve care, has now been set aside for the moment.

The state Department of Health will instead do a study on if facilities should have minimum staffing requirements to solve problems of understaffing.

Known as “Safe Staffing,” the legislation has been a topic of discussion for several years in Albany. The bill has picked up steam in the last year with Democrats now controlling both houses of the state legislature.

Under the bill, the state would mandate minimum staffing ratios to improve the quality of care at hospitals and nursing homes.

Staff at nursing homes would have to spend a minimum amount of time with each resident each day: RNs would be required to spend 0.75 hours; LPNs: 1.3 hours; and CNAs: 2.8 hours.

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