The California Healthcare Association filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Health Services, alleging that hospitals won't be able to comply with the state's new nurse-staffing law because of the department's interpretation of the law, which goes into effect Thursday. The association, which represents nearly 500 hospitals in the state, is seeking to prevent the department from requiring hospitals to have additional fill-in nurses for nurses who go on breaks or are temporarily away from their patients. "Under (the department's) newly revised interpretation of patient assignments, a nurse won't even be allowed to take a short break without an additional nurse being assigned to replace him or her," said CHA President Duane Dauner. "We are asking the court to force the Department of Health Services to interpret its regulations according to its own findings in the department's administrative record." California is the first state to enact a nurse-to-patient ratio. The law requires hospitals to staff one nurse for every six patients in medical-surgical units. -- by Patrick Reilly
Lawsuit challenges Calif. nurse-patient regs
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