Senate takes turn at nurse staffing dilemma

Published 11:03 am Monday, March 18, 2013

ST. PAUL — With a compromise emerging in the Minnesota House, the state Senate is beginning to look at nursing regulations covering hospitals.

A Senate health committee planned to debate a bill Monday that would impose minimum unit-by-unit staffing requirements. It’s not yet clear if senators will modify the bill to match one advancing through the state House.

On Friday, the nurse bill was changed by a House panel to remove the staffing requirements. Instead, it calls for a study and additional publication of data about inpatient care. The change was made in consultation with associations representing nurses and hospitals.

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Nurses have argued that hospitals are too thinly staffing their units and the state should step in. Hospitals say a mandatory staffing law would be too cumbersome and put small hospitals at risk.