**Media Advisory for Thursday, July 16** - NYSNA calls for the reopening of Syosset Hospital inpatient psychiatric unit

NYSNA calls for the reopening of Syosset Hospital inpatient psychiatric unit; patient needs are not being met; nurses call on Northwell to be there for the mental healthcare needs of the community; patient advocates and elected officials to speak

Reports of psychiatric patients stuck in Syosset’s ER for days spur action

For planning purposes: July 15, 2020
Contact: Carl Ginsburg | carl.ginsburg@nysna.org | 917.405.1060

Syosset, NY Nurses, community leaders and elected leaders announced that they will come together on THURSDAY, JULY 16 at 11:00 AM to call for the reopening of Syosset Hospital’s inpatient psychiatric unit. Syosset is a division of Northwell Health. After a number of hospitals around the state closed inpatient psychiatric units citing emergency need for COVID-19 staff and space, serious doubts are being raised about Northwell Health’s intention to reopen the much - needed inpatient psychiatric unit of 20 beds at its Syosset Hospital, closed on March 23. Syosset RNs of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), nurses from other hospitals, patient advocates and elected leaders are calling for the Syosset unit’s immediate reopening to provide mental health services. Nurses point to a promise by the NYS Office of Mental Health on April 9 that the unit’s closing would only be temporary.

WHO: Syosset Hospital mental health nurses of the New York State Nurses Association, other health professionals, and elected leaders
WHAT: A press conference to call for the reopening of the Syosset inpatient psychiatric unit to meet immediate community demand for mental healthcare
WHEN: Thursday, July 16 at 11:00 AM
WHERE: Syosset Hospital main entrance, 221 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset, NY 11791 (parking one block west in Home Depot lot)

The Syosset inpatient psychiatric unit was closed in March, nurses deployed and unit space used for COVID-19 patient care. With the shutdown, mental health patients lost continuity of care in a community setting. Now there are reports of Syosset mental health patients languishing for up to four days in the Syosset Hospital ER. The Syosset unit is critical to the care of inpatient psychiatric patients in the surrounding communities.

Northwell has removed less-profitable inpatient psychiatric beds from its system, especially on Long Island, closing inpatient psychiatric units at Southside Hospital, Glen Cove Hospital and LIJ Valley Stream, in an effort of what mental health experts call a centralization of care at the expense of communities. All, say nurses, is to serve Northwell’s pursuit of greater patient revenue.

“Northwell’s record in closing inpatient mental healthcare is unparalleled in New York State. One hospital after another has discarded its inpatient psychiatric unit, eliminating community-based care systems that nurses and public health experts have held up as examples of enduring care models — and patients came to rely upon. The Syosset psychiatric unit is one such place.  Its existence is now threatened. Will Northwell make its temporary closing permanent? Our nurses, community allies and concerned elected officials say NO! No more closures, Northwell!” - NYSNA Executive Director Pat Kane, RN

“NAMI-NYS is deeply disturbed that at a time when mental health services are going to be needed at unprecedented levels, we continue to see crucial inpatient services being reduced. Without these vital inpatient beds our loved ones will inevitably become over dependent on emergency departments ill-equipped to address psychiatric disorders, or entangled in the criminal justice system which is surpassing hospitals as the leading provider of psychiatric services. NAMI-NYS is proud to stand beside the dedicated nurses who care for our loved ones and play a major role in driving recovery. We implore the hospitals to allow these essential caregivers to continue to help our loved achieve healthy lives.” - Matthew Shapiro, Associate Director, NAMI-NYS.

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The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 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

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