When we fight, we win! On Tuesday, May 4, a pair of landmark staffing bills passed in the State Senate and Assembly. For the first time in New York State, there could soon be a process for setting and enforcing staffing standards at every hospital and nursing home—regardless of whether the facility is public or private, not-for-profit or for-profit, union or non-union.
The staffing legislation consists of two bills—a hospital staffing committees bill (A108B/S1168A), and a standard minimum nursing home staffing levels bill (A7119/S6346). Both bills are sponsored by Aileen Gunther in the Assembly and Gustavo Rivera in the State Senate. These bills will establish a clear process for setting and enforcing staffing standards in every unit in every hospital and nursing home in the state.
Tell Governor Cuomo to sign these bills… SIGN THE PETITION!
More than a decade of advocacy by NYSNA nurses and healthcare professionals got us here. Your fierce and persistent advocacy on behalf of our patients and profession—and throughout the COVID pandemic—brought legislators to the table to begin making long-needed reforms.
For hospitals, the hospital staffing committees bill (A108B/S1168A) will:
- Establish clinical staffing committees including 50% frontline nurses and direct care staff that will set annual staffing standards for each unit of a facility. Standards must be expressed in ratios or grids that meet or exceed those set in existing union contracts.
- Make the yearly staffing plans enforceable by the Department of Health, with civil penalties against hospitals that fail to create staffing standards and abide by them, effectively making NYSNA-negotiated staffing ratios state law.
- Require the DOH to establish new minimum staffing standards for ICUs and critical care units that must be incorporated in each hospital’s annual staffing plan.
- Make the staffing data publicly available to staff and patients.
- Create an independent commission to study the effectiveness of the new law in improving patient care and nurse staffing levels and make recommendations for further action to the legislature.
For nursing homes, the standard minimum nursing home staffing levels bill (A7119/S6346) will:
- Require all nursing homes to meet minimum staffing levels, expressed in 3.5 hours per resident day, including standards for CNAs, NAs, RNs and LPNs.
- Require at least 2.2 hours of care by certified nursing aides for each resident, and at least 1.1 hours of care by Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical nurses.
Once passed, the new laws will give nurses the tools we need to advocate for our patients and bring more accountability and transparency to our healthcare system. We intend to build upon this victory by organizing strong staffing committees in each facility, enforcing safe staffing standards, monitoring our progress, and continuing to push for equitable, universal minimum safe staffing standards for all hospitals and nursing homes, regardless of zip code.
But first, we need to make sure Governor Cuomo signs these staffing bills! The legislation is heading to his desk and we’re urging him to support New York’s nurses, frontline healthcare workers, patients, and nursing home residents by signing the bills, so they can go into effect on January 1, 2022.
Tell Governor Cuomo to sign the bills… SIGN THE PETITION!
To achieve our ultimate goal of winning universal safe staffing standards and enforcing them, we need to be organized. Sign up today to be a Staffing Captain!
Pat Kane, RN
NYSNA Executive Director