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New York Passes Safe Staffing Measures in Hospitals and Nursing Homes

As previously reported, two bills were passed by the New York Legislature which impact how hospitals and nursing homes are staffed. The bills were awaiting the Governor’s signature and have recently been signed, making them law.

The first bill amends Section 2805-t of the New York Public Health Law and requires general hospitals to:

  • Establish a clinical staffing committee by January 1, 2022,
  • Submit a clinical staffing plan developed by the committee to the New York State Department of Health (“Department of Health”) by July 1, 2022, and
  • Implement the adopted plan on January 1, 2023.

The law also requires the clinical staffing committee to conduct a semiannual review of the plan and annually submit an updated plan to the NY Department of Health (DOH) by July 1st of each year. The DOH will post these plans publicly and collect data concerning their implementation.

Effective January 1, 2022, the second bill amends Section 2895-B of the New York Public Health Law and requires nursing homes to:

  • Maintain daily average staffing hours equal to 3.5 hours of care per resident per day by a certified nurse aide, a licensed nurse or a nurse aide; provided that out of such 3.5 hours, no less than 2.2 hours of care per resident per day is provided by a certified nurse aide or a nurse aide, and no less than 1.1 hours of care per resident per day is provided by a licensed nurse.
  • Post information regarding staffing levels in a manner which is visible and accessible to residents, their families and the staff, as required by the commissioner which includes:
    • The number of RNs providing direct care and the ratio of patients per RN;
    • The number of LPNs providing direct care; and
    • The number of unlicensed personnel utilized to provide direct patient care, including adjustment for case mix and acuity.

The information must be expressed in actual numbers, in terms of total hours of care per patient, and as a percentage of patient care staff, and must be broken down in terms of the total patient care staff for each unit and each shift.

In addition, beginning January 1, 2023, and each year thereafter, the staffing hours requirements can only be met using certified nurse aids or licensed nurses, excluding nurse aids from being used to fulfill the staffing hours requirements.

Next Steps for Employers

Hospitals and nursing home facilities should consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with the new law.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.