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Hospital Staffing Law Spawns Lawsuit

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A hospital industry group is suing the state in a last-minute attempt to challenge a new law that requires a minimum nurse-to-patient ratio in hospitals.

The California Healthcare Association filed suit yesterday against the California Department of Health Services, saying that the new requirements will be virtually impossible to satisfy.

Gail Witzlsteiner with Sonora Community Hospital says one problem is illustrated when nurses have been working continuously for hours. The nurse could not go on a break without having another nurse taking their place on the floor. Witzlsteiner adds that, should the law fully go into effect, the result could be… patients that are turned away.

And Mike Lawson, president of Mark Twain St Joseph´s Hospital in Calaveras County, says they have some senior nurses who can fill in during a crunch… but that´s not a permanent solution.

While the new law goes into effect today… the lawsuit by the California Healthcare Association may delay that. The group doesn´t want to block the rules immediately… but does hope for an injunction within the next 30 days