Staffing Victory: NYSNA Pressures DOH to Enforce Staffing Law

Ever since the hospital staffing committee law was passed in 2021, NYSNA members have pushed for the highest patient safety standards and for strong enforcement of the law. And despite setbacks, our advocacy to enforce the law is working! 

In August, nurses and patient advocates anticipated seeing the updated staffing plans and reporting on actual staffing levels posted on the New York State Department of Health (DOH) website. Instead, hospitals submitted data in a COVID-19-era reporting format that used “planned averages” for staffing levels, instead of the nurse-to-patient ratios or matrices or grids in the real staffing plans. The plans posted were not what staffing committees agreed to and did nothing to increase transparency and accountability in New York’s hospitals. Most of the plans also did not reflect the hard-earned staffing ratios and guidelines that nurses won in their NYSNA contracts, in clear violation of the law.   

NYSNA, CWA, and 1199SEIU pushed back and sent a letter to the DOH demanding they enforce the law. Our advocacy was reported in Crains New York Business. In October, the DOH reversed its guidance to employers and issued a letter to hospital administrators requiring that they submit real staffing plans by Nov. 8.  

Now, NYSNA nurses and allies need to monitor that hospitals are following through and posting the real plans online and in our hospitals. If your hospital posts an old or incomplete plan in November, let your NYSNA representative know. If your hospital continues to post staffing plans in inconspicuous and non-public areas of the hospital, let your NYSNA representative know.

We need more members to get involved in advocating for safe staffing. Download and share this flyer that describes how to: 1) file a protest of assignment; 2) track your staffing data, and; 3) become a staffing captain. Taking these steps to enforce our contracts and help enforce the state staffing law are the best protection for our patients and our practice.