New York Law Gives Nurses a Voice in Hospital Staffing Plans

Associated Press Staff

June 21, 2021

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation requiring general hospitals in the state to seek input from nurses and other staff in creating staffing plans that are to include specific guidelines on how many patients each nurse is assigned.

The law, signed Friday, requires hospitals to form committees composed of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, ancillary staff members providing direct patient care, and hospital administrators to form the staffing plans.

A nurse demonstrates during a protest strike over safe staffing issues at Montefiore Hospital in New Rochelle, New York.

Hospital staffing committees must adopt their first staffing plans and submit them to the state health department by July 1, 2022. It's unclear how the law will play out in non-unionized workplaces.

Lawmakers passed the legislation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which put a strain on staffing and resources at many hospitals throughout the state. Supporters of the law want to boost staffing levels. The original bill would have mandated statewide minimum staffing levels, but those were negotiated out.

"This legislation requires hospitals to create committees that include the very same staff who treat patients on the ground every single day and come up with plans that take their concerns into consideration when allocating staff," Cuomo said in a statement.

"We need to make sure nurses and ancillary staff have a voice in their hospitals, and these new requirements will make sure they collaboratively plan for the future."