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I think LD 1639, the nurse-staffing bill soon to be voted on by the Maine Legislature, is a bad deal for our state. Although enforcing strict nurse-to-patient ratios sounds ideal, it could force healthcare facilities that couldn’t comply to close beds or divert ambulances. Not only is there a nursing shortage nationwide, right now, the bill seems like the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist in Maine — which ranks highly compared to the rest of the country when it comes to the quality of our health care.
Since the current staffing regime in Maine’s hospitals, based on patient condition rather than arbitrary state mandates, is apparently working (and allows for flexibility in their staffing); and since rural hospitals, in particular, already struggle to keep their doors open, let’s not let the perfect — ideal staffing-ratio mandates — be the enemy of the good.