FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 13, 2019
Contact: Richard Bamberger, email@example.com, 917.662.8370
Statewide Safe Staffing Day of Action: RNs, elected officials and community leaders call on Albany to pass Safe Staffing
ALBANY, NY – Members of the New York State Nurses Association, state lawmakers and community leaders held a press conference at the State Capitol today calling on Albany legislators to pass the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act this session. This legislation, which would require acute care facilities to maintain specified minimum levels of staffing, ensures that the staff-to-patient ratio is sufficient to protect patient safety. The legislation (A2954/S1032) currently has 107 bill sponsors in the Assembly and 28 bill sponsors in the Senate.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who represents communities in Orange and Sullivan Counties and is also an RN, is spearheading the effort inside the Legislature. “It is a proven fact that patient outcomes are better when there are enough nurses at the bedside of their patients at hospitals across New York,” said Assemblywoman Gunther. “I am proud to be the sponsor of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act because safe nurse and caregiver-to-patient ratios save lives and New Yorkers deserve the best care possible.”
“There is a crisis in New York healthcare. There are patients in need and not enough nurses. Our nurses are working longer hours and serving more patients per day, which puts New Yorkers at risk. I support the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act because we must ensure that all New Yorkers get the safe, quality care they deserve, and that our nurses are protected in their work." said Senator Jessica Ramos, Chair of the Senate Labor Committee
“New York’s registered nurses care selflessly for patients 24/7 across the state in countless facilities. The Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act will ensure adequate staffing ratios in our hospitals so that patients get the best care possible,” said Senator Peter Harckham.
"No one cares more about quality care for patients than nurses," said Senator Robert Jackson, who represents thousands of nurses who live in Manhattan's 31st Senate district, as well as thousands more who provide patient care throughout Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood. “I know from my experiences as an advocate and as a parent and grandparent, that nurses are on the front lines every day with incredible skill and compassion."
"It's time for health care management across this state to stop abusing nurses and forcing mandatory overtime on those caregivers at the heart of our health care system. Let's stand together and say NO to mandatory overtime and YES to safe staffing levels on every shift in every setting. And let's punish those health care elites who put profits before patient care and nurses' safety," added Senator Jackson.
“Our healthcare system depends on nurses being able to assess and assist patients effectively. Safe staffing levels not only increase the level of care a nurse can provide to a patient, but are directly linked to a decrease in readmissions, lower chances of complications and infections, and an overall increase in patient mortality,” said Assemblywoman Alicia L. Hyndman. “If there was a way to ensure lower healthcare costs and higher levels of patients satisfaction, this is the silver bullet.”
“The results of safe staffing are clear: better patient care, less readmissions and lower chances of complications. It’s simple: safe staffing saves lives. New York needs safe staffing now, so every patient receives the care they deserve,” said Judith Cutchin, RN, President, NYC H+H/Mayorals Executive Council.
“As nurses, we are on the front lines every day serving our patients. We witness how understaffing impacts the quality of care our patients receive and how it overwhelms our healthcare system. Enough is enough. We need safe staffing to better serve our patients,” said Pat Kane, RN, Treasurer, New York State Nurses Association.
In addition, NYSNA called for passage of the Mandatory Overtime Violations bill. This legislation (A3706/S5424) allows for the imposition of a civil fine for violations of $1000 up to $10,000 for each infraction. The employee who is mandated would receive an additional 15% of the “overtime payment” as bonus pay. This legislation is desparately needed to guarantee patients are cared for by nurses who have received their constitutionally protected breaks.
This bill, along with the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act, is one preventive measure to stop nurse burnout. This bill creates accountability for employers who willingly break the law and put patients in harm’s way. This happens when employers knowingly do not provide adequate staffing that guarantees breaks and lunches for nurses and other caregivers are covered. The latest Leapfrog study gave New York hospitals their worst patient safety scores ever and the state must act to correct these conditions through this legislation and other measures. Patients and nurses deserve no less!
Inadequate staffing ratios are hurting patients in hospitals across New York. Every day, nurses and caregivers witness how these staffing ratios impact patients. We are urging lawmakers to pass the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act and the Mandatory Overtime Violations bills before the end of the legislative session.
The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 43,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, please visit nysna.org.