Statement: NYSNA Nurses on New York State Attorney General Report on COVID Nursing Home Deaths

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 28, 2021
Contact:  Kristi Barnes | kristi.barnes@nysna.org | 646-853-4489

Cutting Corners on Staffing, Health and Safety Costs Lives

New York — In response to the New York State Attorney General’s report, “Nursing Home Response to COVID-19 Pandemic,” the New York State Nurses Association released this statement:

NYSNA applauds the Attorney General and her office for conducting a deeper investigation into nursing homes’ response to COVID-19. It’s critical to examine and learn from the failures that took the lives of too many of our patients and healthcare workers during the pandemic.

The report confirms what we have heard from members since the Spring of 2020: Many long-term care facilities lacked adequate PPE, basic infection control procedures, safe staffing, and quarantine protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within facilities. A key finding of the report is that poor staffing increased mortality rates, adding to the large body of evidence that shows safe staffing saves lives.

The majority of long-term care facilities are privately-owned, for-profit corporations. These facilities had a financial incentive to understaff before the pandemic; and during the pandemic, chronic understaffing, mixed with cutting corners on health and safety, had deadly results. The report clearly underscores why relying on for-profit companies for safety-net healthcare is a tragic mistake.

Our patients, their families, and nursing home staff deserve better.  We stand with our elected officials who are demanding greater transparency and accountability from New York’s healthcare providers. Albany must deliver bold solutions to ensure safe, equitable care for ALL patients, and ensure ALL healthcare operators put patients over profits.

For years, nurses, healthcare workers, and advocates have called for safe staffing legislation in New York State to deliver quality care and to address healthcare disparities. The time to deliver safe staffing for all New Yorkers is past due.

When frontline workers have a seat at the table, and when we have safe staffing, we can save lives.

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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 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.