NYSNA Nurses Rally to End Healthcare Disparities for New York’s Most Vulnerable Patients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 15, 2014
CONTACT: Eliza Bates, eliza.bates@nysna.org, 917-565-2976 or Carl Ginsburg, carl.ginsburg@nysna.org, 917-405-1060
  
(Albany, NY) NYSNA nurses from across New York State gathered on Saturday, Feb. 15, for a rally to end healthcare inequalities and the ‘Tale of Two New Yorks’ for underserved patients, following Saturday’s session of the 43rd Annual Legislative Conference sponsored by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators. 
 
In a spirited march through the Empire State Concourse, nurses in sea of red scrubs chanted “End healthcare inequality NOW!” 
 
RNs delivered a petition calling on the NYS Department of Health to end policies that worsen healthcare disparities, including hospital cuts and closures in low-income communities of color, outsourcing of vital healthcare services leading to substandard care, and unsafe RN staffing levels. 
 
RN leaders spoke at the rally on behalf of caregivers who want to see a New York that makes access to high-quality care and safe RN staffing a priority for all patients – not just those who can afford it: 
 
“When staffing is short, when public services are privatized, when hospitals are closed, and when the needs of the community are made to accommodate the mandates of business, inequality is worsened – NYSNA fights to end inequality in all its forms,” said  Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, NYSNA president and a Bronx emergency room nurse .
 
“We fight for a New York where everyone can get the care they need, when they need it,” said  Anne Bové, Bellevue Hospital RN and President of NYSNA’s HHC Executive Council . “We fight for a New York where people don’t live in constant terror of sickness, because they can’t afford treatment or could have their immigration status used against them and their families.”
 
“As nurses, we are especially concerned that the lack of meaningful economic recovery is having a serious impact on health, including the health of our sons and daughters. We are seeing illnesses related to stress in a younger population: gut disorders, heart ailments and mental illnesses,” said  Jill Furillo, RN, NYSNA executive director.
 
“We are living a Tale of Two New Yorks – one for rich patients with abundant healthcare options, and another for underserved, low-income patients who struggle to get the healthcare they need,” said  Gwen Lancaster, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital RN and NYSNA leader. “We need to treat healthcare as a right, not a commodity only available to those who can pay for it.”
 
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