HEALTH- The New York State Nurses Association kicked off a new “Healthcare Justice for All” campaign to demand safe staffing and fair funding as contract negotiations with New York City public hospitals begin this month.
The effort comes on the heels of Mayor de Blasio’s NYC Care plan to provide access to quality healthcare for an additional 600,000 uninsured New Yorkers. With a current staffing crisis plaguing NYC Health and Hospitals, and the addition of hundreds of thousands of potential patients, NYSNA is calling for the implementation of safe staffing ratios at all public hospitals to provide the highest standard of patient care and save lives.
“The public hospital system serves one in five New Yorkers and is on track to provide care to hundreds of thousands more this year,” said Judith Cutchin, RN, NYSNA Board Member and President of NYSNA’s NYC H+H/Mayorals Executive Council. “We share in the community call for quality care for all patients. We need attention to conditions in the hospitals, including safe staffing ratios – enough nurses to do their jobs – which also helps us retain experienced RNs. We want to see fair funding for our public facilities. This contract is fundamentally about healthcare justice for the other New York, equality for all in healthcare.”
“You cannot speak about quality healthcare without speaking about the role that nurses play. We know the importance of quality care and the care New Yorkers deserve starts with our nurses. Safe staffing saves lives and the Bronx will support nurses every step of the way. We are here to fight for patients and families,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The “Healthcare Justice for All” campaign kickoff was held in Harlem at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and widely attended by elected officials and community leaders, including Comptroller Scott Stringer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Councilman Daneek Miller, Councilman Mark Levine, President of the New York City Central Labor Council Vinny Alvarez, DC 37 Local 420 President Carmen Charles, Executive Vice-President of the Doctor’s Council SEIU Kevin Collins, Executive Director of Community Voices Heard Afua Atta-Mensah, Director of the Commission on the Public’s Health System Anthony Feliciano, Executive Director and Founder of the Dominican Women’s Development Center Rosita Romero and Executive Director of New York Metro Health Care for All Mark Hannay.
The new campaign will focus on raising awareness of the current staffing crisis, delivering safe staffing levels and ensuring all of New York’s nurses have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. As the number of patients continues to increase in New York, investing in the nursing community couldn’t be more important. In fact, research shows safe staffing saves lives. According to a study by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, lower nurse-to-patient ratios at California hospitals significantly decreased the likelihood of a patient’s death. Additionally, after ratios were implemented in California, hospital income rose dramatically from $12.5 billion to more than $20.6 billion – or by nearly 65 percent. Safe staffing and fair funding is a win-win for New Yorkers and will deliver healthcare justice for all.
“Safe staffing is about saving lives. Every neighborhood and community should be able to have access to quality, affordable healthcare. We will march with you. We will go to Albany with you. We will make sure the public hospitals will have the resources to do their job and take care of New Yorkers,” said NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer.
“The nurses in NYC Health and Hospital are the voice of the people and the voice of public health hospitals. I will work with the legislators in Albany to fight for safe staffing. We know we have the best healthcare in the nation because we have the best nurses in the nation,” said Councilman Daneek Miller.
“We can’t speak about the current health issues our city is facing from opioids to diabetes to maternal mortality without mentioning the critical role nurses play. Nurses are the lynch pin to every challenge we face,” said Councilman Mark Levine.
“The working people of New York need a working healthcare system. We need safe staffing because we know better staffing increases outcomes and saves lives. There’s no question about it. The CLC stands with our brothers and sisters in NYSNA to support quality care for all,” said New York City Central Labor Council Vinny Alvarez.
“For all of the hard working RNs, we stand with you. When we stick together and fight alongside each other, we win. We stand to support equal pay for equal work,” said DC 37 Local 420 President Carmen Charles.
“Year after year, nurses are voted the most trusted profession. It’s because they care. Whether it is 3pm or 3am, nurses are the backbone of patience services. The fight of nurses is our fight,” said Executive Vice-President of the Doctor’s Council SEIU Kevin Collins.
“We stand with our nurses not just in word, but in deed for the fight for quality healthcare. NYSNA is one of the most diverse unions I’ve ever had the privilege to work with and we stand with you in your fight. Safe staffing is not just rhetoric, it saves lives,” said Executive Director of Community Voices Heard Afua Atta-Mensah.
“Our health is our greatest wealth. We know one of the reason’s nurses are underpaid and undervalued is because it is largely a women’s profession. It is time to finally have equal pay for equal work, including our nurses,” said Founder of the Dominican Women’s Development Center Rosita Romero.