For Immediate Release
Contact: Nancy Webber, 518.782.9400, Ext. 223
Albany, NY, June 21, 2007 -- The New York State Nurses Association today accused the State Senate Republican majority of endangering patients by failing to vote on a bill that would ban nurse mandatory overtime.
“The Senate’s failure to act on this measure is needlessly endangering the lives of healthcare consumers across the state,” said Tina Gerardi, RN, NYSNA Chief Executive Officer. “When nurses are forced to work overtime, patients are put at risk. It’s as simple as that.”
An amended bill was introduced (S.6342/A.1898B) on Monday, June 18, in both houses and was passed by the Assembly on Thursday morning. The amendment, which was crafted by the Senate Majority in consultation with NYSNA and other healthcare unions, defined the emergency situations under which healthcare employers could use mandatory overtime. Emergency events were defined as those that cannot be prudently planned for and do not occur regularly.
“The Assembly acted responsibly in agreeing to pass the Senate version of the bill,” Gerardi said. “The Senate Republicans, by contrast, allowed themselves to be pressured by the healthcare industry. They introduced another watered-down version of the bill that would have provided no protection for nurses or patients.”
“The healthcare industry in this state has consistently opposed patient safety legislation,” Gerardi continued. “If they don’t regularly use mandatory overtime, as they claim, why are they opposing this measure? Do the CEOs of hospitals know more about patient safety than the nurses who are actually delivering the care?”
NYSNA will continue to lobby Senate Republicans to act on the mandatory overtime bill if they return to session during the summer.
With more than 34,000 members, NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation. It is an influential union for RNs, representing nurses in New York and New Jersey. Offering a wide range of services to its members, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and of the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
— 30 —