Defend Public Hospitals

NYC H+H nurses speak out for fair funding for public hospitals.

New York state’s public hospitals never turn a patient away. That’s the mission of RNs everywhere. Our public hospitals care for all New Yorkers, and they are the frontline of our defense against infectious diseases, like the COVID-19.

But our public hospitals are in danger: from Buffalo, to Westchester, to New York City, the healthcare systems that protect the public’s health are underfunded and in danger. Public sector nurses are fighting back against efforts to cut funding, cut or privatize services, close facilities, or impose other austerity measures.

NYSNA has waged several successful battles to protect public hospitals in recent years. In 2014, we defeated a proposal to privatize dialysis care at NYC H+H/Mayorals that would have cut RN staffing in half and worsened the quality of dialysis care. We must continue defending against cuts or privatization of services that sacrifice quality care.

In 2017, nurses at Westchester Medical Center overwhelmingly ratified a contract that will protect quality of care by retaining and attracting skilled nurses to care for the 3.5 million people in the Hudson Valley for whom Westchester Medical Center is a lifeline. Now nurses are back at the bargaining table, trying to win a fair contract that prioritizes safe staffing and nurse retention.

In 2019, Erie County Medical Center nurses won a strong four-year contract focused on improving care for Buffalo patients. And in 2021, NYSNA championed and won a hospital staffing committee law, which will improve staffing at all facilities in New York State—public and private.

After years of battling against state budget cuts to healthcare funding, NYSNA members helped win fair funding gains for public and safety-net hospitals in the 2022 New York State budget.

NYSNA is building a powerful coalition of patients, community leaders, and elected officials to reverse austerity and to fairly fund our public healthcare system. We believe every patient is a VIP and should receive quality care, regardless of their zip code or ability to pay. We are committed to ending the two-tiered system of healthcare that drives racial and income-based healthcare disparities. Together, we have the power to protect the vital public hospitals that New Yorkers depend on, improve access to care, and ensure quality care for all.

In New York City, there is a two-tier healthcare system. An important report shows that NYC’s Health+Hospitals/Mayorals (H+H) system provides the majority of under-financed medical care to the city’s uninsured, Medicaid, and Level One emergency trauma care patients. The public system is not adequately compensated for the care it provides—and that private hospitals avoid—such as mental healthcare. New York’s private hospitals make money at the public’s expense.