Okay, generally, Esme and I are on the same page, but I would like to (perhaps) expand on what I read.
Yes, patient ratios are "recommended" by Jack-O, Nerds In Hiding, and Morbidity and Mortality, 'scuse me, "Medicare and Medicade". These ratios, however, are subjective, as noted.
The ratios under which many practice are determined by overhead/"clients"/nurses. Why? Because there is no ICD billable unit for nursing care, ergo, the physical facility takes precedence over nursing staff. Nurses are a dime-a-dozen and easily replaced. The "customer service" model of tile floors, coffee bars, etc., are used to make up for questionable care-practices. It works, as long as there aren't too many Sentinel Events.
If we want to change these standards, "someone" needs to bring a class-action suit, probably against JCAHO, substantiating patient endangerment by incompetent policy direction(i.e., allowing MBAs undue influence in care-delivery).