For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
ALBANY, Oct. 16, 2009 – The New York State Nurses Association is calling on the State Legislature to not enact a series of interim cuts to the state budget proposed Thursday by Gov. David Paterson.
“We’re speaking out because registered nurses are first and foremost advocates for their patients,” said Tina Gerardi, RN, Nurses Association CEO. “And cuts of this magnitude will have a devastating impact on access to health care for millions of the most vulnerable New Yorkers – the very young, the very old, the uninsured, and the underinsured.”
The estimated $470 million in interim cuts to Medicaid and other health and mental health programs will cause a sudden financial shock to New York’s healthcare institutions, which have already built their annual budgets around the state budget that was passed in April.
“The cuts and downsizings that will result will mean that many residents of New York’s communities will not be able to get early and preventive care,” Gerardi said. “They'll wait until they need care at the emergency room, sicker and requiring hospitalization, overburdening other area healthcare facilities that are already straining to meet community needs.”
“These patients are not numbers on a balance sheet or state budget statistics, they are real people,” Gerardi said, noting that because of the current nursing shortage, officials in public health are already estimating that there could be drastic delays in immunizing high-risk residents against the H1N1 virus. “They have a right to receive the healthcare services they need.”
“The Nurses Association urges our elected state officials to not forget the most vulnerable among us and take the steps necessary to avoid balancing the state budget on their backs,” Gerardi said.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.