A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would mandate specific nurse-to-patient ratios by 2007 and require hospitals to develop staffing plans. Hospital costs incurred because of the new ratios would be partly offset by increased Medicare reimbursement. The proposal, introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) in conjunction with National Nurse's Day, would require nurse-to-patient ratios of 1-to-4 in medical-surgical units and 1-to-3 in emergency departments and pediatrics and telemetry units. Mandatory nurse-staffing ratios took effect in January in California, the only state to have passed such a law. -- by Patrick Reilly
Bill would set national nurse-to-patient ratios
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