For Immediate Release
Contact: Robin Wood, 518.782.9400, ext 275
ALBANY, March 15, 2011 – Members of the New York State Nurses Association will meet with legislators on Tuesday to advocate for a “go slower” approach on Medicaid reform and to share their concerns about the proposed state budget. Nurses around the state are concerned that $2.3 billion in short-term cuts to the Medicaid program could result in decreased access to care and negative impacts to patient safety.
“Our members, who take care of patients every day, want to remind our legislators that the state budget isn’t just numbers on paper, but represents resources that affect the care and well-being of real people,” said Tina Gerardi, MS, RN, CAE, CEO of the Nurses Association. “We need to make sure that healthcare facilities around the state have the resources they need, including appropriate, qualified staff.”
The Nurses Association, which will hold its primary annual lobby day April 12, added this additional legislative outreach to make sure nurses are heard during the budget process. Nurses Association members will particularly ask legislators not to support the proposed suspension of the Nursing Care Quality Protection Act (known as the Disclosure Law), which will not save money for the state and provides important consumer protection information.
The Nursing Care Quality Protection Act (Public Health Law 2805t)requires hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostic and treatment centers to disclose specific information concerning nursing quality indicators, staffing and complaints made against the facility. Having this important information available to the public, legislators and regulators is key to evidence-based healthcare reform. Meaningful reform requires meaningful data.
Additionally, the Nurses Association is concerned about the impact of the Medicaid cap on the state’s safety net hospitals – the facilities that serve a high percentage of Medicaid patients and may already be struggling financially. Our members will strongly encourage legislators to reconsider revenue-generating ideas that could be used to help close the budget gap and allow additional time for Medicaid reform ideas to be proposed and considered.
In addition to taking its Medicaid reform message directly to legislators, the Nurses Association last week launched a multi-media ad campaign, Let’s do it right, and a resource page, www.nysna.org/doitright, to tell the public that cutting $2.3 billion from Medicaid all at once just doesn’t make sense. We believe that we can reduce the budget gap and take care of the state’s most vulnerable patients.
“There is a better route to Medicaid reform,” Gerardi said. “We can reduce costs and improve outcomes by focusing on innovative, evidence-based proposals that improve the coordination of care and control Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse.”
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is New York’s largest professional association and union for registered nurses.The association represents registered nurses, and some all-professional bargaining units, in New York and New Jersey. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
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