For Immediate Release
Contact: Erin Silk, 518.782.9400, ext 224
LATHAM, March 5, 2010 — The New York State Nurses Association applauds the State Assembly’s passage of a bill to reform the composition of the State Hospital Review and Planning Council (SHRPC) and to open up their deliberations to greater public input.
"The State Hospital Review and Planning Council (SHRPC) should be an avenue for the broadest possible input into the Health Department’s decision-making processes,” said Tina Gerardi, RN, chief executive officer of the Nurses Association. "Unfortunately the narrow composition of SHRPC and lack of opportunity for public input have led many to question its decision making ability."
Under the legislation sponsored by Assembly Members Rory Lancman, Richard Gottfried and Catherine Nolan, SHRPC would be expanded to 39 members that would include employee representatives and healthcare consumers. The bill would also require SHRPC to allow public comment at their proceedings.
The need to reform SHRPC became evident following the Department of Health’s effort to rush through emergency regulations to mandate the influenza vaccination for healthcare workers. The Nurses Association opposed the regulation as both an infringement on workers' rights and an ineffective means of preventing the transmission of influenza from workers to patients.
Without adequate input from nurses and other healthcare professionals, concerns of those on the front line of health care were not heeded. The Department suspended the regulation in October following multiple problems with implementation and a shortage of the vaccine.
"Direct care providers and healthcare consumers could provide invaluable input during the development and implementation of regulations," said Gerardi. "If this legislation is enacted, New York will have a healthcare rulemaking process that is both more open and inclusive; enabling us to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past."
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 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.
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