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New Calif. Law Requiring Strict Nurse-to-Patient Ratios Takes Effect

Nurses like it, but hospitals don't. Either way, the final stage of California's landmark nurse staffing law has just kicked in. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

New Calif. Law Requiring Strict Nurse-to-Patient Ratios Takes Effect

Nurses like it, but hospitals don't. Either way, the final stage of California's landmark nurse staffing law has just kicked in. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The law sets minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in all hospital units. For example, general medical areas must have at least one nurse for every five patients. The law's final phase took effect on January 1st. It covers staffing in step down, telemetry, and specialty departments like cancer care.

Jan Emerson is with the California Hospital Association . She says the law's been a big burden on hospitals.

Emerson : We still have a lot of misgivings about the ratios, because we don't have the nurses to comply with them. That issue has not changed. We still have a severe shortage of nurses in California.

Nurses say the ratios allow them more time to devote to each patient. Nurses say that results in better care.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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