June 16, 2016
Safe Patient Staffing Press Conference June 15, 2016
On Wednesday, June 15, 2016 NYSARA President Barry A. Kaufmann and Executive Director John M. Costello took part in a press conference to highlight the current situation with the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act, currently being considered in the New York State legislature. The news on this issue was upbeat as the NYS Assembly, in a historic action for this legislation, overwhelmingly passed this legislation (A8580) by a vote of 108 to 32 on a mostly party line vote. This bill requires minimum staffing levels in health facilities which must have staffing plans. Nurses can refuse to work if the minimum staffing level is not in place. The Senate has 33 sponsors for this bill (a majority) but has yet to schedule any action on the bill. At the press conference NYSARA was joined by representatives of CWA, NYSNA, the Working Family Party, Statewide Senior Action Council and a plethora of Senators and Assembly members highlighted by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, a former nurse, whose passion has been responsible for the victory in the Assembly.
At the Press conference, NYSARA President Barry Kaufmann said:
“On behalf of the 440,000 seniors that are represented by the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans, the issues of chronic under-staffing and low nurse-to-patient ratios are alarming and real. Ignoring nurses’ concerns for the well being of their patients is both egregious and ill advised. It is imperative that the Safe Staffing For Quality Care Act be passed to protect citizens of all ages across New York State. The New York State Alliance for Retired Americans know that passing this legislation is literally a life and death matter for many of our members. There is no more important function of government than to do every thing in their power to address the health and welfare of its constituents. We urge the New York State Senate and the 33 co sponsors of this bill, which represent a majority of the Senate, to take action and pass this bill before the end of session. “