Print “PDF version”

What’s New in the Patient Safety World

August 2021

The New NY State Law on Nursing Staffing



We’ve done many columns supporting improved nursing staffing, not only to make the lives of our dedicated nurses better, but also as a means to improve patient safety. A year ago we reported on NY State legislative activities on this issue (see our September 1, 2020 Patient Safety Tip of the Week “NY State and Nurse Staffing Issues”).


Well, NY State finally did pass legislation on nursing staffing and the bill was recently signed into law by the governor (Reisman 2021, AP Staff 2021).  But it’s not quite what was originally envisioned.


The previously proposed legislation would have mandated specific nurse:patient ratios for various healthcare venues.


The law that was recently enacted creates staffing committees at New York hospitals to assess guidelines for per patient staffing levels. Hospitals will be required 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. Plans must be adopted and submitted to the NYS Department of Health by July 1, 2022.


While hospital opposition to mandated nursing staffing issues largely killed prior proposed legislation, the realities created by the COVID-19 pandemic forced the legislature to finally act.


This is certainly a step in the right direction, but we’ll have to take a look in a year to see what sort of staffing plans get approval.




Some of our other columns on nursing workload and missed nursing care/care left undone:


November 26, 2013    “Missed Care: New Opportunities?”

May 9, 2017                “Missed Nursing Care and Mortality Risk”

March 6, 2018             “Nurse Workload and Mortality”

May 29, 2018              “More on Nursing Workload and Patient Safety”

October 2018               “Nurse Staffing Legislative Efforts”

February 2019             “Nurse Staffing, Workload, Missed Care, Mortality”

July 2019                    “HAI’s and Nurse Staffing”

September 1, 2020      “NY State and Nurse Staffing Issues”

February 9, 2021         “Nursing Burnout”






Reisman N. New laws will address staffing levels in New York hospitals. Spectrum News 2021; June 21, 2021



Associated Press Staff. New York Law Gives Nurses a Voice in Hospital Staffing Plans. Medscape Medical News 2021; June 21, 2021





Print “PDF version”









Tip of the Week Archive


What’s New in the Patient Safety World Archive