NEW YORK NURSE: March/April 2012
NYSNA member Jayne Cammisa, registered nurse at Westchester Medical Center, testified in front of the Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations regarding the exorbitant salaries in some of New York’s hospitals and nursing homes.
She said that while nursing staff face impending layoffs, Westchester’s CEO still makes millions. Read an excerpt from her Feb. 6 testimony:
“In the middle of contract negotiations this past October, the Nurses Association received notice that the facility [Westchester Medical Center] would be eliminating 250 RN positions. An estimated 139 of these positions are nurses who work at the patients’ bedside. Other planned layoffs will affect direct-care providers such as nurse practitioners, clinicians, specialists, and positions that provide support, such as managers, supervisors, coordinators, and the entire Education Department of this Level 1 trauma teaching hospital. This staggering 19% cut in the direct-care nursing workforce at Westchester Medical Center is simply too much for the remaining staff to bear. RNs are already reporting that they are working short-staffed, and many have been doing so since layoffs at the medical center in 2003 and 2004. Staffing levels are an issue of concern because studies have linked poor staffing with higher incidences of adverse patient outcomes. My colleagues and I cannot comprehend why those at the bedside are being sacrificed, while some executives continue to line their pockets at the taxpayer’s expense. The executives at our facility need to do the right thing. Cuts should begin with executive salaries, not caregivers at the bedside. What kind of message does this send not only to the other staff, but to the patients we serve, and the community, as a whole?”
“Westchester Medical Center has the highest case mix index in the country, and is the only burn unit between New York City and the Canadian border. It’s also the only level one trauma center between New York City and Albany, supporting patients from seven counties. Having committed, high quality, highly credible nurses at the bedside is vital to the survival of patients and to Westchester Medical Center. The layoffs at my facility will severely impact the safety and delivery of quality care not only in Westchester, but for the entire Hudson Valley area. This will not be world-class medicine.”