In Brief: June 2016

NYSNA marches in the 2016 Gay Pride Parade in New York City.


NYSNA’s float and a contingent of 50 members participated in New York City’s Gay Pride Parade on June 26. This was the first time that the union officially took part in the parade. NYSNA members were among the 30,000 who marched down Fifth Avenue into Greenwich Village. Earlier in the month, on June 13, members participated in a vigil at the Stonewall Inn to memorialize the victims of the Orlando shooting.

UPMC expands network into New York

New York’s Public Health and Health Planning Council approved the takeover of the Women’s Christian Association Hospital in Jamestown, a 317-bed facility in Chautauqua County, by Pittsburgh, PA, based University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). UPMC has been criticized for raising medical costs in areas into which it expands, and for years has waged a heated public battle with Blue Cross Blue Shield of PA. Al Palmatier, a NYSNA nurse at Brooks Memorial Hospital, which is in the same county, vowed that “New York nurses will keep fighting to hold UPMC and other healthcare systems accountable to accessible, affordable care for hundreds of thousands of people.”

NYC takes action on Zika

New York City is taking measures to ensure that Zika will not become an epidemic in our state during the summer months. The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene designated 21 primary care clinics and emergency rooms throughout the City as “sentinel sites” from July to September. DOHMH also recently began aerially spraying over unpopulated marshland and freshwater wetlands to kill mosquitoes that may carry the Zika virus.

Tentative agreement reached at Clifton Park

Nurses at Ellis Medicine Medical Center of Clifton Park, who voted to join NYSNA just a few months ago, reached a Tentative Agreement on June 9 and ratified their first contract a week later. Congratulations to our newest members!

OSHA to let the sunshine in on workplace injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it will begin posting workplace-specific injury rates on its website, enabling public access to the safety records of particular worksites. The move is an effort to boost transparency and encourage employers to improve workplace safety. OSHA says the new rule will only cover worksites in the most dangerous industries (e.g. healthcare), and smaller worksites will have fewer reporting requirements than larger ones. The new structure is being compared to the public-health grades given to restaurants, and OSHA hopes the exposure helps push employers to improve workplace safety.

Assembly Reaffirms Support for New York Health Act

On June 1, the New York State Assembly passed the New York Health Act (A.5062-A) for the second year. The legislation would create a single-payer, universal health insurance program to cover every New York State resident, regardless of wealth, income, age or health status. The bill is still short of votes in the Senate, but sponsor Assemblywoman Addie Russell (D-116), vowed to continue to campaign for its passage: “We have an opportunity to put people over profits and continue the goal to make sure hard working middle-class families have the same access to quality health care as the wealthiest New Yorkers.” According to NYSNA First Vice President Marva Wade, RN, “Passing the bill would mean full access and better care for all, with huge savings for the vast majority of New Yorkers.”

NYC H+H Gets Top Quality Recognition

The new 365-bed Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, part of NYC H+H, is off to an impressive start, receiving a top, deficiency-free, rating in all areas in a recent NYS Department of Health review.

Eight surveyors recently spent five days at Carter reviewing clinical services, environment of care and fire and life safety. DOH reviewers gave high praise for excellence in clinical care, communication among staff, and leadership. Carter’s accomplishment is particularly noteworthy because fewer than 10% of the more than 13,000 skilled nursing facilities surveyed nationwide are able to achieve a “deficiency-free” rating.

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