Brooklyn hospitals like LICH and Interfaith are Open for Care — and nurses, doctors, caregivers, and the community are fighting to keep them that way!
That’s the message we took to thousands of people at the annual Black, Latino, and Asian Legislative Caucus weekend in Albany on Saturday.
Four busloads of nurses met with many of the lawmakers who are working with us to keep our hospitals open for care — and we capped off the day with a powerful protest at the Department of Health.
“I’m out here to fight for my patients, who are losing access to quality care,” Michelle Mercurius, RN at Interfaith, told the Albany Times Union. “My patients are poor. It’s already hard enough for them to get care. Health care is not just for the privileged.”
Read the entire Times Union article HERE.
We left an open letter for NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah — calling on him to visit our hospitals, and to see the amazing works we are doing to keep them open for care!
See photos from the action at Facebook, Twitter and nysna.org.
“The closure of these hospitals is an issue for nurses statewide,” Carol Ann Lemon, RN, an elected leader of NYSNA and a nurse at Ellis Hospital, told WNYT, Newschannel 13 on Saturday.
“Wall Street wants to start with a for-profit hospital in Brooklyn, but there’s an expectation it will spread,” she said.
The draft state budget proposes to launch two experimental “pilot” for-profit hospitals: one in Brooklyn, and one in an undisclosed location.
“We’ve kept for-profit hospitals out of New York and that’s been a smart move, because they fail miserably,” Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN told the Albany Times Union. Gonzalez is First Vice President of NYSNA.
Watch the interview with Carol Ann on WNYT HERE.
The temporary closure of Bellevue and Coney Island hospitals in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy stretched the NYC emergency room network to the breaking point, and thousands of people in need of outpatient and psych services fell through the cracks. Private hospitals couldn’t pick up the slack.
Now Bellevue Hospital is now fully operational as a Level 1 Trauma Center, and Coney Island should be fully restored shortly. But City officials haven’t learned the lessons from the storm.
The city is moving forward with its plans to privatize dialysis services at HHC, even though the private, for-profit vendor will slash RN care for patients by 60%. The nurses of HHC have been working without a contract for more than three years and have been forced to go to binding arbitration to get a fair wage package.
The Kings County emergency room is bursting at the seams, with average wait times for patients of almost 24 hours from arrival to admission. It will only get worse, if services are cut at LICH and Interfaith.
The nurses of HHC are stepping up our fight to preserve HHC and prevent privatization and the pursuit of profits at the expense of patients. HHC, LICH, Interfaith, Westchester Square and the drive to convert patients into commodities are all part of one struggle — and HHC nurses will be working with nurses in the private sector to fight for and win the battle for safe patient care.
When organizers scheduled a community meeting to keep LICH Open for Care on Valentine’s Day, some people told them no one should up.
Those naysayers were wrong: 357 people signed the sign-in sheet at the meeting — including 1199 caregivers, doctors, EMTs, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Joan Millman, City Councilor Tish James, and many more.
NYSNA nurses were by far the biggest group in the house. CLICK HERE to read the coverage from Brooklyn News 12.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for hundreds of thousands of frontline nurses. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses.