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NY Times: "Overwhelmed and understaffed"

June 8, 2003 -- An article by Richard Pérez-Peña in today's New York Times describes a new study by the Nursing Home Community Coalition of New York State finding that severe understaffing of the state's nursing homes is a significant threat to patients' health. The piece includes quotes from the study by a registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse, and a nurses aide stressing the unsafe staffing levels, as well as the fear, guilt and burnout staff endure in trying to provide care in the current environment. The article suggests that the primary cause of the understaffing is inadequate funding; most nursing home care in the state is funded by Medicaid. It also details recent legislative efforts to address the issue, noting that some have called for safe staffing ratios in the wake of a 2001 federal study concluding that patients' health was put at risk when the hours of nurses and nurses aides fell below three hours per day per patient. Officials in the Bush Administration reportedly oppose requiring staffing ratios, arguing that a three hour standard does not account for specific conditions.

See the New York Times article "Overwhelmed and understaffed, nursing home workers vent anger"