Nurse Speak Outs Across the State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2021
Contact: Carl Ginsburg | carl.ginsburg@nysna.org | 917-405-1060

NURSES SAY THE TIME TO PASS THE SAFE STAFFING LAW IS NOW!

Law Would Ensure that All Patients Get the Care They Need and Deserve

Campaign includes TV Ads, Radio Ads

COVID-19 Makes it Clear: Hospitals and Nursing Homes MUST Have Enough Nurses to Care for our Patients

NEW YORK – The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) announces today the launch of a campaign to call on Albany lawmakers to pass the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act to ensure that all patients across the state get the care they need and deserve.

The bill is gaining more co-sponsors and momentum as the COVID pandemic underscores that safe staffing saves lives in hospitals and nursing homes. A recent report by Attorney General Letitia James is the latest evidence that connects safe staffing and positive patient outcomes. The central finding and core recommendation of the AG’s report are that poor staffing was a major factor in the high death toll in nursing homes, and that New York must enact enforceable, minimum staffing standards, or hours of care per resident.

Earlier this month, the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act moved out of the State Assembly Health Committee, and is moving ahead to the Codes Committee. It must be passed this year by the New York State Legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. So far, the campaign includes:

  • TV Ads – first one can be seen HERE
  • Radio Ads – first one can be heard HERE
  • Member activations
  • Community leader and lawmaker activations

This week’s member activations will be ‘speak outs’ at:

Tuesday, February 23

  • NY-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, 506 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11:30 AM
  • St. Charles Hospital, 200 Belle Terre Road, Port Jefferson, NY, 11:30 AM

Wednesday, February 24

  • Erie County Medical Center, 462 Grider Street, Buffalo, NY, 11:30AM

“Thank you to all the nurses for your sacrifices and what you continue to do. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses and medical staff put their lives on the line everyday to ensure our safety. The passage of Safe Staffing legislation will protect patients and staff, we owe it to both,” said Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes.

“The Covid-19 Pandemic and the recent report by New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, have proven what we co-sponsors of the Safe Staffing Bill have been saying for years - safe staffing levels for nurses save lives!  I am proud to stand with the New York State Nurses Association to demand that this vital legislation be passed NOW,” said State Senator Phillip M. Boyle.

Senator Kevin Thomas said, “Safe staffing saves lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has already stretched our health care system to the very limit — it’s time we take the burden off of our state’s nurses, patients, and families by passing the safe staffing law. This crucial legislation will ensure equity and quality care for all New Yorkers. I am proud to support this life-saving bill, and I urge my colleagues to stand up for our health care professionals by passing this law now!”

“I’ve been advocating for a safe staffing law for several years, but the pandemic has made the need for this legislation clearer than ever before. The New York Attorney General found that COVID fatalities were highest in nursing homes that had low staffing levels.  So we know that safe staffing saves lives, ensures quality care for all New Yorkers, and alleviates the burden on frontline healthcare workers. I urge my colleagues to pass this vital legislation now,” said Assembly Member Monica Wallace.

“I stand in solidarity with my NYSNA family advocating for safe staffing across the state. As a nurse, I know firsthand that quality patient care depends on safe staffing levels. Now I’m urging my colleagues in Albany to take action. It’s time to put patients over profits and enact safe staffing legislation for our patients and our nurses,” said Assembly Member Phara Souffrant Forrest, RN.

“As a nurse, I know firsthand that understaffing puts patients at risk. We saw it in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic where lower staffing ratings were linked to higher mortality rates. With a minimum staffing standard in place, hospitals and nursing homes across the state will be able to reduce adverse patient outcomes and quite literally save lives. Now, more than ever, we need to pass the safe staffing bill,” said Assembly Member Aileen Gunther.

“Nurses at St. Charles Hospital and throughout Catholic Health are calling out for safe staffing,” said Tracy Kosciuk, RN. “Doesn’t matter if it’s the ICU or emergency department or other units, the COVID pandemic has made our inadequate staffing even worse in units throughout the hospital. St. Charles already schedules less nurses than the proper number of nurses agreed in our contract. It’s not right that the hospital calls us heroes, but blames us for lack of staff in units when we call out sick. If someone calls out sick, staff is forced to scramble to call other nurses to fill in. It doesn’t make sense for nurses to float from a unit already understaffed. It’s difficult to provide quality care under these circumstances, and it’s not fair to our patients. There needs to be a consistent, safe standard set across Long Island and the entire state, so that our patients and nurses can heal.”

“The pandemic further exposed failures in our healthcare system overall and made it ever more critical that we must pass safe staffing legislation. Safe staffing standards will ensure equity and quality care for all New Yorkers.  That means we can move towards ending racial disparities in care. We must not wait any longer. We need safe staffing," said Ari Moma, RN, NY-Presbyterian Methodist Hospital.

“Safe staffing is a basic fundamental right — nurse to patient ratios are crucial in allowing nurses to provide the best and safest care possible. Patients and communities absolutely deserve this high-quality care. A safe staffing bill would help us ensure that employers must adhere to these defendable staffing standards," said Maddalena Spero, RN, SIUH.

ALBANY: DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON NEW YORK PATIENTS OR NEW YORK NURSES!

For more information, visit campaignforpatientsafety.org.

###

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.

About NYSNA

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.