NEW YORK, May 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nurses, elected officials, and patient advocacy groups from across New York joined forces today to celebrate National Nurses Day by participating in a 'Day of Action' to Protect Patients, holding six regional rallies calling for the passage of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act.
The regional rallies were held in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Westchester, Buffalo, Long Island and Schenectady.
The Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act (S.782/A.8580-A) is a bipartisan bill in the State Legislature with wide support that calls on hospitals to maintain a responsible number of nurses to patients – ensuring better care and saving lives.
As many nurses can tell you, New York is facing a staffing crisis. Hospital administrators pushing both nurses and patients to the limit. In some cases, New York nurses are being forced to handle more than a dozen patients at one time. When that happens, patients suffer. Studies show, the risk of patient death increases by seven percent for each new patient a nurse must care for.
No law currently exists to place a limit to how many patients a nurse can care for at one time.
This is a crisis that can be easily solved. Hospitals need to have enough staff to give patients the care they need and deserve.
Support for the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act is quickly growing. The legislation currently has 97 sponsors in the New York State Assembly and 28 sponsors in the New York State Senate.
"As the only registered nurse in the Assembly, the issue of safe staffing is personal to me. I hear from fellow nurses every day about how important this legislation is to them, and the difference it would make in their lives. Safe staffing improves patient outcomes, reduces nurse injuries, and saves hospitals money," said Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D-Forestburgh).
"Safe nurse staffing reduces avoidable patient injuries and deaths," said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried (D-Manhattan). "The ratios and hours specified in this bill are based on peer-reviewed and evidence-based recommendations, and will ensure that hospitals and nursing homes operate in a manner that guarantees public safety and quality health care services."
"The biggest crisis in New York patient care today is the staffing imbalance between nurses and patients. We need safer nurse-to-patient ratios in our healthcare facilities. I urge our state leaders to ensure passage of legislation to accomplish this vital and necessary change. The Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act will improve conditions in our hospitals for nurses and will save lives," said Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Kings).
Assemblymember Joseph R. Lentol, Chair of the Committee on Codes (D-North Brooklyn) said, "We have to protect patients at their most vulnerable times. The first most basic way of doing that is to ensure proper staffing numbers that provide care in our healthcare institutions. I support safe staffing as a way to improve the delivery of health care in Brooklyn and all of New York State."
Senator John J. Bonacic (R-Orange County) stated, "Nurses provide critical lifesaving care every day, and I am proud to have always supported their issues. I am also proud to co-sponsor the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act, legislation that would set safe staffing ratios for nurses, and thereby allow them to continue delivering quality care to patients."
"As the son of a nurse, I know full well that safety must always be paramount," said Senator Phil Boyle (R-Suffolk County). "That is why I am privileged to co-sponsor the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act for the benefit of all nurses in New York and their patients."
Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) said, "To ensure the highest quality of care for patients, it is important we make sure our nurses and hospital staff are not overworked. By keeping the ratio of nurses to patients at a safe level, our dedicated nurses will continue to save lives."
Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (D-Albany) stated, "Nurses are most valued and needed at the most vulnerable times in our lives, and sufficient, safe staffing is critical to good care. The Safe Staffing legislation will help ensure this, as well as shorter and less costly hospital stays because patients will receive better and more attentive care."
"Adequate staffing is essential to providing quality care to patients," stated Senator Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach). "I'm proud to be a co-sponsor of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act because New Yorkers deserve a law that establishes a limit on the number of patients a nurse can be assigned, and nurses deserve the assurance of knowing that they have the capacity to provide quality care."
"As a trained occupational therapist, I have seen first-hand the importance of safe staffing levels in our hospitals and other health facilities," said Senator Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo). "Safe staffing will further improve patient care, while providing nurses and other health care workers with the support they need to perform their physically-demanding duties. I'm proud to support this legislation, and I urge my colleagues in the State Legislature to join me in protecting patients and nurses."
"I stand with advocates and nurses across New York State in our fight for passage of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act. This specific piece of legislation is crucial for the effective and efficient delivery of quality healthcare that our medical institutions provide. Equally important, the Safe Staffing Act ensures that our nurses are responsible for an appropriate number of patients, which in turn will allow them to receive the proper attention and care during their hospital visit. I stand eager to work with my colleagues in the State Legislature to pass this measure and get it to the Governor's desk before the end of session," said Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn).
"The Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act is a smart and effective piece of legislation, and it should be passed and signed into law during this year's legislative session. This bill will lead to lower injury rates, more effective nursing care, and better hospital outcomes. If we are going to improve the quality of care at hospitals across New York State, we need to pass the Safe Staffing Bill into law immediately," said Assemblymember Sean M. Ryan (D-Buffalo).
"When our family, friends and neighbors are in need of care, it's the nurses who have always been there to comfort them, ensure a safe recovery, and help them return home. Nurses are such a vital part of our healthcare system, and they deserve our respect and gratitude for the amazing work they do. We must do everything thing we can to keep our nurses doing what they do best, and that's providing the best care possible in our communities. I'm proud to be a strong sponsor of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act that ensures those who care for our loved ones do not have to shoulder the weight of providing care alone. Our nurses have one of the hardest jobs out there, and they have my admiration for doing the job with strength and reliance each and every day. They are there for us, now we need to be there for them. It's time to pass this legislation and show them just how grateful we are for their continued service to our communities," stated Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam).
"Our dedicated nurses provide outstanding compassionate care to thousands of New Yorkers each and every day and deserve to work in a safe environment that protects their safety and that of patients. The Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act, which would help enhance that goal of patient and staff safety, currently has 97 sponsors in the Assembly where only 76 votes is required to pass a bill. It's time the Speaker and Majority bring this important legislation to help save lives to the Floor for a debate and a vote," said Assemblymember Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville), who is a co-sponsor of the measure.
Mario Cilento, President, New York State AFL-CIO stated, "As we pause to honor nurses on this National Nurses Day, it is fitting that we also call attention to a bill that would help nurses provide quality care to their patients. The Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act would establish safe and equitable standards for all patients ensuring they get the care they require and deserve. It is time we put patients first in New York State and properly staff our hospitals with nurses dedicated to saving lives while also improving patient outcomes."
"We represent 40,000 Registered Nurses across New York State. Every day, our members feel the consequences of unsafe staffing standards in our hospitals," said Jill Furillo, Executive Director, New York State Nurses Association. "When hospital administrators force nurse to take on a dozen or more patients at once, the level of care suffers — that personal touch disappears. That's why this Nurses Week, we are fighting to pass the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act. This law will mean better outcomes and better care for patients, which is a nurse's number one goal every day."
"In study after study, unsafe staffing levels lead to worse health outcomes, including for shock, cardiac arrest, and hospital-acquired pneumonia," said Dr. Hemant Sindhu, President of the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare. "We know that the high-performing, safe, and just healthcare system of the future cannot be created unless we empower our frontline providers of care, and give them what they need to get the job done. CIR doctors are proud to stand with nurses on behalf of all of our patients."
"For more than a decade, PEF has raised the red flag about safe staffing levels in all medical facilities," said Wayne Spence, president of the New York State Public Employees Federation. "Adequate nurse staffing is key to patient care and nurse retention. Staffing problems will only intensify as baby boomers age and the need for healthcare grows, making safe-staffing ratios an ever pressing concern. All the studies have shown a correlation between inadequate nurse staffing and poor patient outcomes. It is time New York takes the initiative, as did California, to pass legislation for adequate nurse-to-patient ratio regulations."
"Healthcare workers know that unsafe staffing harms patients and costs hospitals and nursing homes money but their best efforts to make change facility by facility have been rebuffed. Laws that require facilities to disclose how they staff each shift are wholly ignored, leaving patients to make life and death decisions in the dark. We need a law to protect workers and patients because what's at stake transcends bargaining tables and boardrooms. Not one more call light should go unanswered, or life should be lost, because a nurse has two to three times more patients than she can safely care for," said Debora Hayes, Healthcare Director, CWA District One.
Maria Alvarez, Executive Director, NY StateWide Senior Action Council stated, "Older New Yorkers are particularly affected by unsafe staffing in hospitals and nursing homes. Seniors routinely experience long term effects from preventable infections, falls, and bed sores. As a consequence, many are never able to recover. The state must establish minimum safe nurse-to-patient ratios in all hospitals and nursing homes to protect patients from poor outcomes and to give them the assurance that their call lights will be responded to in a timely manner when they need help."
"Hospitals and nursing homes are chronically understaffed across New York state, leading to increased health problems and deaths. We need to make sure patients receive the quality care they deserve and nurses aren't overburdened by unreasonable workloads so that we reduce avoidable patient deaths and injuries. Passing the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act must be a priority for Albany this session," stated Bill Lipton, NY State Director, Working Families Party.
Municipalities across New York have also been passing local resolutions calling for the bill's passage. A total of 20 municipalities have passed resolutions to date, with three approved in the last 48 hours. The most recent vote was in the City of Utica last night. The municipalities include:
- The City of Buffalo
- City of Tonawanda
- Town of Tonawanda
- Town of West Seneca
- Town of North Collins
- Town of Lancaster
- Village of Kenmore
- Ulster County
- Albany County
- Town of Cheektowaga
- Town of Amherst
- Town of Hamburg
- Town of Niskayuna
- Schenectady County
- Kingston City Council
- Erie County
- Rockland County
- City of Utica
- Town of Lloyd
- Town of New Paltz
In a November 2015 Mellman Group poll of 1,000 New Yorkers, a staggering 85% said they support a maximum number of patients a nurse can care for at one time. 67% of those polled believe there are not enough nurses in New York hospitals.
The NYS Campaign for Patient Safety is a coalition of consumer, labor, patient advocacy and community organizations committed to fighting for the highest quality patient care for New York's hospital and nursing home patients. We believe one of the most critical aspects of ensuring quality patient care is implementing minimum standards for how many patients a single nurse can treat at one time. That's why we are supporting the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act. To learn more, please check out our website: www.campaignforpatientsafety.org
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SOURCE New York Campaign for Patient Safety