Westchester Medical Center in Crisis: Severe Nurse Understaffing; E.R. in Shambles; Inadequate I.C.U.s; Poor Infection Controls; Patients in Jeopardy, Say RNs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 2, 2022
Contact:
Carl Ginsburg, carl.ginsburg@nysna.org, 917-405-1060

Sick Nurses Pressured to Return to Job Prematurely

Valhalla, NY – Nurses at Westchester Medical Center (WMC) say a steep decline in hospital conditions is ongoing — causing experienced RNs to leave — and adversely affecting patient care overall. The RNs will speak out today, Wednesday, February 2, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM, about serious deterioration at the public facility and to call for immediate implementation of effective infection controls and a fair contract. The nurses, members of the New York State Nurses Association, will be joined by elected officials to underscore the threat to the public’s health at WMC.

“Families from four counties have come to Westchester Medical Center for patient care. But they can no longer place their trust in a hospital management that understaffs in critical care units and  emergencies.  Management’s tactic now is to threaten to cutback nurse retiree health benefits, after all the nurses have been through,” said Nancy Hagans, RN, President of the New York State Nurses Association. 

“Nurses continue to struggle in delivering safe patient care at WMC,” said David Long, RN, Local Bargaining Unit president. “The overwhelming disrespect by management is deplorable as we hemorrhage experienced nurses weekly. The greed of top managers, evidenced by their hefty salaries, is felt at the bedside through the absence of highly trained nurses and other care partners. To this day, no efforts have been made by management to secure effective retention of our nursing heroes.”  

WHO: Nurses of the New York State Nurses Association at Westchester Medical Center and elected officials       
WHAT:  Speak out against facility conditions and the threat to the public’s health engulfing Westchester Medical Center; nurses call for a fair contract 
WHEN:  Wednesday, February 2, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
WHERE:  Westchester Medical Center, 100 Woods Road, Valhalla, NY 10595

"Nurses have been working tirelessly under the most difficult of circumstances at risk to their health and safety and that of their families,” said State Senator Shelley Mayer. “I am proud to support them as they speak out for the health and safety of patients, staff, and the community; the compensation to which they are entitled; and ensuring the retention of nurses as the challenges of understaffing and the pandemic take their toll.  I am committed to working with NYSNA and its members to ensure nurses and staff receive the compensation and respect they deserve, and patients and communities get the care they need and deserve."

“I am proud to stand with the brave and dedicated nurses at Westchester Medical Center and the New York State Nurses Association as they ‘speak out’ for safe staffing,” said State Senator Peter Harckham. “These are frontline heroes, and a lack of support for them is counterproductive and adds unnecessary risks to patients. I implore WMC: Give our nurses the staffing support they deserve.”

“Our nurses are critical to the operation of our hospitals and nursing homes, and so very important to the quality of care and overall outcome for every patient and resident,” said Westchester County Legislator Erika L. Pierce. “When nurse staffing is cut, lives are lost and everyone suffers.  Even more so during a pandemic. Thank you to our hard working and exhausted nurses who continue to care for us day in and day out. Let’s do the right thing and establish safe staffing levels so they can do their jobs as they are meant to be done.”

"Our nurses have been at the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are the ones that provide direct care to all of us when sick and hospitalized,” said Westchester County Legislator Jose Alvarado. “They deserve and have earned the right to have competitive salaries and benefits. I am proud to stand with our nurses and other medical professionals at this Speak Out Event at the Westchester Medical Center.”

“Nurses make our healthcare system work. Let’s make nurses’ workplace safe,” said Assembly Member Tom Abinanti. “Praise is good, but nurses need to be paid properly - their well-being impacts our wellness.”

“I am pleased to support our nurses at Westchester Medical Center. It is important for the health and safety of patients that there be appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios at all shifts and that nurses be compensated based on their education levels and skills,” said Westchester County Legislator Ben Boykin.

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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.

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