KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Workforce Issues: Health Care Jobs Boom In Nevada; Florida Nurses Lobby For Safer Hospital Staffing

News outlets report on the health care workforce, including the thriving job market in Nevada and an effort to institute mandatory staffing ratios for nurses in Florida hospitals.

Las Vegas Sun: "Although (Nevada's) jobless rate hovers at 13 percent and many workers are losing jobs, health care employment has bucked that trend in Las Vegas just as it has across the nation. Toward the end of 2009, Las Vegas had 69,700 health care workers, up 3.4 percent or 2,300 jobs from a year earlier, said Brian Gordon, principal at research firm Applied Analysis… By the firm's count, in 2008 Nevada had 25.5 health care workers per 1,000 people, well below the average 35.7 workers per 1,000 people across the nation. That opens the door to more growth in Las Vegas" (2/19).

St. Petersburg Times: "With medical errors in U.S. hospitals causing up to 98,000 deaths and 400,000 drug-related injuries each year, registered nurses across the nation are pushing for laws that would mandate higher staffing levels. Florida nurses, who have seen similar efforts go nowhere during the last two legislative sessions, are organizing to try again." Nurses from across the state visited the capital, Tallahassee, Wednesday "to lobby legislators to support a bill that would establish nurse-to-patient ratios based on patients' acuity. … Florida is one of about a dozen states seeking to follow the lead of California, where an aggressive nurses union pushed through patient ratios in 2004 over protests from both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state's hospital industry" (Hundley, 2/18).

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