‘Safe havens of care for all’

This is a critical moment, when religious and racial discrimination are on the rise, threatening violence,” said Anne Bové, RN and President of NYSNA’s NYC H+H/Mayorals Executive Council. “Our public hospitals have a long tradition of serving all New Yorkers, no matter who they are or what their care needs. Our mission is to provide a ‘safe haven of care’ and we will not be deterred.”

With these words, NYSNA Board Secretary Anne Bové, RN, invoking her decades of service to patients in the public hospital system, took her place with a coalition of patients, caregivers and supporters to resolutely declare New York City’s public hospitals “Safe Havens of Care for All.”

The declaration issued by labor and health advocates and immigrant rights groups in New York provides that public hospitals are to be considered “protected zones.” It is in response to growing fears of discrimination against women and immigrants, and within communities of color, and with evidence of mounting violence against Muslims and other vulnerable populations.

The declaration was announced on November 19 by a coalition including Save Our Safety Net Campaign, the New York State Nurses Association, Committee of Interns and Residents SEIU, Doctors Council SEIU, District Council 37 (DC37), the Commission on the Public’s Health System and the New York Immigration Coalition, in all representing hundreds of thousands of people living and working in Metro NYC.

Strong statements issued

Together, these New Yorkers underscored the public hospital system’s popular credo: without regard to race, religion, immigration status or ability to pay, all those in need will be given care and protection at the city facilities.

Both NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo have made statements in recent days reaffirming these values to reassure the safety and welfare of all New Yorkers.

Coalition members issued statements in support, excerpted here:

“Let’s be clear: Election results do not change the fundamental values that define New York’s commitment to providing care for all who need it. Our public health care system will always be immune to the toxicity of ugly political rhetoric,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director of DC37.

“We are committed more than ever to ensuring our hospitals welcome all New Yorkers who need our help,” said Frank Proscia, MD, President, Doctors Council SEIU.

“We cannot allow anyone to use dangerous fear and intimidation language to scare any patient from accessing their human right to receive care,” said Judy Wessler, of the Save Our Safety Net Campaign.

“We have seen an uptick in hate attacks recently against Muslims, immigrants, Asians, and Latinos since the election, said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “Safe havens are absolutely important….”

“It is our responsibility as physicians to care for all who come to us, regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, or ability to pay,” said Dr. Priscilla Chukwueke, Psychiatry resident at Harlem Hospital and Regional Vice President for the Committee of Interns and Residents.

“Our public hospitals have long been the cultural competent providers of first resort for arriving immigrant groups of virtually every ethnic and language background. And despite operating in an environment characterized by overburdened, constrained and unequal financial reimbursement mechanisms, our public hospitals have been there to serve, promote and protect the welfare and well-being of everyone,” said Anthony Feliciano, Director of the Commission on the Public’s Health System.

Click HERE to read the entire press release.

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