North Country Nurses and Other Healthcare Professionals Hold Town Hall on Region’s Staffing and Services Crisis



NYSNA nurses and other healthcare professionals from North Country join community and labor allies to bring attention to the alarming decline in staffing and essential healthcare services like maternity care in the region. 


Contact: Anna Sterling | | 646-673-0419  

Kristi Barnes || 646-853-4489 


Plattsburgh, N.Y.– NYSNA healthcare professionals across the North Country will convene at a community town hall meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss the region’s growing crisis over inadequate staffing and the loss of healthcare services. 


Join NYSNA nurses, healthcare professionals, labor organizers and community members to learn more about the healthcare issues at stake and discuss long-term solutions. 


WHO: Nurses and healthcare professionals of the New York State Nurses Association, labor and community allies. 

WHAT: Community Town Hall on Staffing and Services Crisis in the North Country 

WHERE: Hampton Inn & Suites Plattsburgh, 586 State Route 3, Plattsburgh, NY 12901 

WHEN: Tuesday, September 26 at 6:00 p.m. 


As large healthcare systems take over local hospitals, they often cut essential healthcare services. In the North Country, the University of Vermont Health Network has acquired Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH), Elizabethtown Community Hospital and Alice Hyde Medical Center. Since then, they have eliminated vital departments, such as intensive care units and maternity wards and consolidated services to the detriment of patient care. 


The region is already dealing with a lack of access to pediatric care and mental health beds. Between 2000-2022, the region lost roughly 15.8% of its certified maternity beds. Fewer maternity beds means longer travel times and therefore an increased risk of adverse outcomes for pregnant women. People who experience pregnancy in rural areas already face 9% higher rates of additional illness or death than people who experience pregnancy in urban areas.   


Since UVM financially restructured CVPH in 2020, there has been an exodus of skilled registered nurses and other professional employees throughout the facility. This puts patients' health and safety in jeopardy as residents report waiting hours or even days in some instances to receive urgent acute care. 


Between 2020 and 2022 alone, the North Country region lost 420 nurses (12.4%), the biggest percent loss of any region in the state. While community hospitals use expensive travel nurses to cover staff shortages, they have failed to invest in the recruitment and retention of nurses rooted in the North Country community. 



Chris Swiesz, RN, an ambulatory surgery center and emergency department nurse at CVPH, said: “This new normal of understaffing and being asked to do more with less is not sustainable — you just can’t do it. Nurses are getting burned out. When hospital administrators say they want to streamline, they really mean strip us of resources. We are already the only hospital for the community and our patients deserve better.” 


Vicki Davis-Courson, RN, a nurse for nearly 20 years at CVPH, said: “Nurses get into this profession because we care. It’s not that we don’t want to stay—it’s that we're not being empowered. UVM is not giving us the staffing that we need to provide the best care possible. That’s why  young nurses keep leaving.” 



The New York State Nurses Association represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. NYSNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United, AFL-CIO, the country's largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses, with more than 225,000 members nationwide.

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The New York State Nurses Association is a union of 42,000 frontline nurses united together for strength at work, our practice, safe staffing, and healthcare for all. We are New York's largest union and professional association for registered nurses.