Nurse Crisis in New York

April 17, 2013 Updated Apr 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM EDT

By WKBW News

April 17, 2013 Updated Apr 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM EDT

Albany, N.Y. (WKBW) - Several hundred nurses are in Albany, Wednesday, pushing for better staffing levels in hospitals. They may get it in the form of legislation.

There is a bill that would force hospitals to increase the nurse to patient ration, which is notoriously low in New York State. The shortage is nothing new. In fact, it has lead many colleges to add nursing programs and students to address the issue.

Despite an increase in candidates, the State Nursing Association said hospitals aren't hiring. In the end, it is hurting patients. State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried is the sponsor of the State Staffing Bill.

"So this bill would, for the first time in New York, have the health department set basic staffing levels for nursing care in hospitals and nursing homes. It would have every hospital adopt a plan for itself and meet those standards of what the staffing levels would be in the different units in the hospital," Gottfried said.

Opponents argue this bill could create problems if passed. It would force hospitals to hire an additional 20,000 nurses statewide. The cost would come to three billion dollars a year. Putting that much money toward nurses would lead to layoffs of other hospital employees.

This bill already has 76 members of the State Assembly signed on. No word on when it will be brought to a vote.

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