In Brief: November 2016

NYSNA nurses attended the 2016 Somos El Futuro conference in Puerto Rico, November 9-13. They met with state legislators and other advocates to ensure that nurses have a voice in important policy debates on safe staffing and enhanced funding for safety net hospitals, as well as on issues such as Zika, Puerto Rico's healthcare and debt crises, immigrant healthcare access and other concerns of New York’s Latino community.

Dutchess County Dems honor Vassar member

At a ceremony on October 23, the Dutchess County Democratic Committee honored Vassar Brothers Medical Center RN and NYSNA member leader Hilary Schneck by presenting her with the Eileen Hickey Labor award. The award recognizes Ms. Schneck’s tireless work inside the hospital, within the community, and in the political arena to improve staffing at VBMC and achieve safe staffing legislation for all New Yorkers.

Speaking out for clean air

Residents of the South Bronx and North Brooklyn are breathing high levels of diesel emissions emitted from garbage trucks, putting them at elevated risk of respiratory disease, according to a new study by Transform Don’t Trash NYC, a coalition of unions, environmental and community groups. The study, “Clearing the Air: How Reforming the Commercial Waste Sector Can Address Air Quality Issues,” calls attention to how private trash trucks disproportionately harm air quality in a few specific low-income communities of color.

At a September 27 press conference on the study’s release, Lorraine Pierre-Destine, a NYSNA RN in the Pediatric Emergency Department at NYC Health + Hospital’s Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, spoke about how exposure to diesel pollution is associated with asthma and other respiratory diseases, with children and young adults particularly susceptible. “The quality of air in the South Bronx is among the worst in all urban America, and the concentration of garbage dumps in the neighborhood constitutes a public health disaster. Nurses are working with labor, community and environmental advocates to change this because everyone deserves clean air, safe jobs and good health!”

NYSNA Welcomes NYC H+H CRNAs

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists working at NYC’s Health + Hospital’s Physician Affiliate Group (PAGNY) cast a resounding vote for NYSNA representation on November 1. The 51 CRNAs work as part of the 3,000-member physician practice — the largest in New York State — and will soon begin to bargain for a fair contract to protect their practice and patients and secure fair treatment and compensation.

NYC’s public hospitals shine in Leapfrog ratings

New York City’s public hospitals came out ahead of the class when the Leapfrog Group released its annual Hospital Safety Grades on November 1.

Leapfrog used publicly available 2015 data of 30 evidence-based measures of hospital safety to score hospitals nationally on performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors. Only five NYC hospitals achieved grades of A or B, and all are facilities in NYC Health + Hospitals. The ratings speak to the high quality care delivered in the public hospital system and reinforce the need for fair funding of safety net hospitals to ensure they will be able to care for all New Yorkers well into the future.

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