The Michigan Nurses Association joined Democratic lawmakers Monday in their push to make Michigan the second state to mandate hospital staffing levels, but hospital officials expressed concern the requirement could backfire due to higher costs.
Democratic Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor and Rep. Jon Switalski of Warren recently introduced legislation that would require Michigan hospitals to develop and implement staffing plans and meet statewide minimum nurse-to-patient ratio requirements, depending on the type of patient.
The bills would, for example, require hospitals to have one nurse for every patient in critical care units and one nurse for every four patients in pediatric units. It also would ban mandatory overtime for nurses except in emergencies.
Dr. Laurence Rosen, a health care researcher at Public Policy Associates in Lansing, said research shows low nurse staffing levels are associated with higher death rates and can also cause patient complications such as blood stream infection and hospital induced pneumonia.
The Michigan Nurses Association agreed. It represents about 2,200 nurses and other health care professionals at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, where nurse-to-patient ratios were inked in a 2010 employee contract and continued under an extension ratified last month. ...