The Massachusetts Nurses Association and the state's hospitals squared off over competing nurse-staffing bills at a packed hearing before the state Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Health. A House bill supported by the union would ban mandatory overtime and set nurse-to-patient ratios ranging from 1-to-2 in the ICU to 1-to-4 in medical-surgical units. A hospital-supported Senate bill would not mandate ratios but would require hospitals to draft and publish a nurse-staffing plan and hospital-specific quality and safety data. California, which passed a nurse-staffing law in 1999, is the only state to mandate a maximum number of patients per nurse. -- by Melanie Evans
Mass. lawmakers weigh competing nurse-staffing bills
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