Registered Nurses, Elected Officials and Community Leaders call for fair funding and Safe Staffing at City hospitals with a rally on the steps of New York City Hall

Contact: Carl Ginsburg | | 917-405-1060

 Nurses Sound Alarm about Risks to Patient Care

NEW YORK, NY – Members of the New York State Nurses Association, elected officials and community leaders held a rally on the steps City Hall in New York City to highlight deeply troubling conditions in public hospitals due to inadequate funding and understaffing –– a combination of serious factors that could cripple the public system providing care to the underserved.

“This is about making sure that we have an adequate public healthcare system in the City of New York that works both for the patient and for the nurses and the staff,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. 

“A victory for nurses is a victory for patients of all incomes, of all communities,” stated NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “The people behind me take care of all of us. They don’t ask questions about how much we make. They don’t ask questions about our religion. The only thing they say is ‘are you sick? how can I help?’ And for that reason, let’s stop negotiating.”

“Thank you for saving lives every day,” stated NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. “Nurses are the ones who take care of our parents, our grandparents, our little children, and yes, someday us.”

 "The working people of New York City need a working healthcare system," said New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez. "Our public Health+Hospitals system needs to be funded equitably so that we can make sure that New Yorkers who depend on it aren’t getting the short end of the stick when it comes to their critical healthcare needs. The NYC Labor Movement is committed to standing with NYSNA and our Health+Hospitals nurses to demand the resources and support they need to continue to provide exceptional care to the patients and the communities they serve."

“All you have asked for is the resources to do your job effectively,” said NYC Councilman Marc Levine. “Adequate staffing is directly tied to patient health outcomes. There is research and data to prove this. This is about saving lives.”

The problems have been well-documented. A recent report concluded that the NYC H+H system absorbs costs and services that private hospitals try to avoid including:

  • A disproportionate share of care for the un- and under-insured;
  • Extensive Level 1 trauma capacity;
  • Majority of patients who need substance abuse and psychiatric services;
  • Many other unreimbursed or underfunded medical services.

As a result, public hospitals are overwhelmed.

The report, On Restructuring the NYC Health + Hospitals Corporation — Preserving and Expanding Access to Care for All New Yorkers, stressed that the survival of private hospitals is dependent on the acceptance of new patients from any socioeconomic level at public hospitals.

In 2016 alone, the NYC public hospital system served roughly five million out-patient visitors and over 200,000 in-patient admissions, many of them shunned by private hospitals.

Private hospitals, in turn, benefit from the public hospitals picking up these costly services, allowing them to focus on building their market share and serving profitable patient populations with private insurance. As a result, the combined net revenues (profits) for the five major private hospital networks operating in New York City were nearly $900 million in 2016, more than one-third greater than the year before. Despite their tax-exempt status, the five private networks reported that over 100 executives were each compensated in excess of $1 million in 2015. 

According to the report, the city’s public hospitals receive high marks for quality, scoring in the top half of all NYC hospitals. NYC H+H’s cost structure also compares favorably to the private hospital network, yet the system loses money because the services it provides are not fairly reimbursed by the state or federal government. More than 1.1 million New Yorkers received care at one of the 11 NYC public hospitals in 2016. Half or more of uninsured New Yorkers who sought medical care went to a public hospital, including 31 percent of all ER visits and 80 percent of hospital clinic visits. The report concludes that something must be done to fix the inequality in how New York City’s public and private medical facilities share the costs and revenues of medical care.

New York City Public Hospitals are currently preparing for NYC Care, in which another 600,000 people could become patients at City hospitals. We are saying enough is enough.

To read the report, visit:


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


We are 42,000 nurses working together to win safe staffing, keep hospitals open for care, stop the Wall Street attack on our patients, and win healthcare for all.