For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
KINGSTON, July 10, 2012 – As the Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley considers its options for restructuring services, registered nurses are demanding that management keep its focus on the most important stakeholder – the community.
According to the union that represents the 260 registered nurses at Benedictine Hospital and Nistel Inc., closing Kingston Hospital will take away crucial access to health care by the most vulnerable residents in the community – the very young, the very old, the uninsured, and the underinsured.
Yesterday’s decision to close Kingston Hospital was based on the balance sheet – and not community need. People in Kingston aren’t statistics in a financial report, and they have a right to receive quality care when they need it. The Nurses Association says that when a downsizing like this occurs, residents of communities have fewer opportunities to seek early intervention, come to the emergency room sicker, and require more hospitalization. The result of can be a loss of work time by sick adults or a loss of school time for children too sick to attend. Where are the cost savings here?
The Nurses Association asserts that the Health Alliance’s current problems are the result of several poor management decisions. This includes the millions that are now considered wasted making improvements to the Kingston facility, failure to step in and stop the deliberate prolonging of contract negotiations with nurses, wasteful spending on legal fees, and the inefficient way that Nistel and the Foxhall Ambulatory Surgery Center were run.
Despite management’s deliberate, needless delays over the past three years, Nistel RNs have settled their first contract, approving an agreement Monday night. Nistel is a for-profit staffing company that employs RNs who work in surgical services at Benedictine and Kingston hospitals and Foxhall Ambulatory Surgery Center. It was formed shortly after RNs at Benedictine filed for an election to be represented by the Nurses Association in June 2008. Nistel RNs elected the union their collective bargaining representative in April 2009. Negotiations started on June 15, 2009.
The two-year contract runs from June 1, 2012 to May 31, 2014. It includes salary scale that will provide an increase for a majority of the bargaining unit as of July 15, 2012; as well establishes a standard for overtime pay and differentials for evening and night shifts, experience, education, certification, and weekends. The contract provides other important benefits and protections.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is New York’s largest professional association and union for registered nurses. The association represents registered nurses, and some all-professional bargaining units, in New York and New Jersey. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
- 30 -