For Immediate Release
Contact: Nancy Webber, 518.782.9400, ext. 223
LATHAM, May 6, 2009 — Gov. David Paterson has proclaimed May 6-12, 2009, to be Nurses Week throughout the State of New York. Focusing on the theme of “Nurses Building a Healthy New York,” the New York State Nurses Association has launched a campaign in support of healthcare reform at both the state and federal levels.
“Nurses function as patient advocates in our complex healthcare delivery system,” said Tina Gerardi, RN, chief executive officer of the Nurses Association. “They speak on behalf of both individual patients and the vulnerable populations in our society.”
Given the fact that nearly 48 million Americans have no health coverage and many more are underinsured, the Nurses Association believes healthcare reform is essential. “The best path to real reform is one national healthcare plan rather than the patchwork of public and private plans we have now,” Gerardi said.
The Nurses Association supports a single-payer system, sometimes called “expanded and improved Medicare for all.” The nurses’ union has endorsed HR676, federal legislation that would establish such a plan. Members will attend a rally in Washington, D.C, on May 13 in support of the bill.
Representatives of the Nurses Association participated in a May 5 news conference at the State Capitol to declare nurses’ support for a single-payer health plan in New York State. The “New York Health Plus” bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and State Senator Thomas Duane, would be an important step toward a national plan.
“Every day, our members continue to face challenges related to the financial problems of hospitals and nursing homes,” Gerardi said. “At the same time, they see patients who are denied coverage or who stop taking medications they can’t afford. Nurses know that the only way out of this crisis is real healthcare reform.”
A new toolkit with information about the single-payer proposal for healthcare reform and opportunities to take action on this issue will be available at www.nysna.org on May 8.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 36,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.