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May 8, 2009 News Headlines

Staffing Ratio Bills Are No Solution: HANYS

HANYS is opposing legislation (A.2264, Gottfried/S.3843, Duane) that would impose nurse staffing ratios in hospitals, and a bill (A.1718, Gottfried) that would impose staffing ratios in nursing homes for nurses, other licensed personnel, and aides. The legislation is on the Assembly health committee agenda for consideration next week. HANYS is asking members to contact their legislators to oppose these bills.

“Meeting the proposed ratios would require tens of thousands of new nursing staff and would literally cost billions, forcing hospitals and nursing homes to recruit from fellow providers, curtail needed services, divert more patients from emergency rooms, and cancel surgeries,” commented HANYS’ President Daniel Sisto.

HANYS points out that ratios do not provide the needed flexibility to adapt to patients/residents with different needs that can change quickly. Staffing is determined by a host of complex, interrelated factors that appropriately vary across facilities including the specific needs of the patient; the experience, education, and preparation of the staff; the use of technology; the physical layout of the facility; and the number and competencies of clinical and non-clinical staff.

Despite the temporary easing of the shortage in some areas due to the economic downturn, there have been severe workforce shortages in recent years, growing shortages are forecasted, and the capacity of nursing schools continues to be stressed.

“It is incomprehensible that these bills would be considered when hospitals and nursing homes have experienced multiple, deep budget cuts, when there is no real effort to increase the supply of nurses, and with no funding to pay for this multi-billion dollar mandate,” said Mr. Sisto.


State Offers $175 Million for Health Care Restructuring

Governor Paterson announced the availability of $175 million in Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers (HEAL NY) funding for hospitals and health systems pursuing efforts to restructure services through consolidations, elimination of excess beds and duplicate services, and expansion of outpatient and primary care.

The Request for Grant Applications is available on the Department of Health (DOH) Web site. Proposals are due July 1, and an applicants’ conference is scheduled for May 15 at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, from 1 to 3 p.m.

The funding will be allocated regionally, with $75 million going to the five boroughs of New York City, $25.7 million to Long Island, and the rest of the funds distributed as follows:

  • Hudson Valley, consisting of Delaware, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester counties: $20.95 million;
  • Northern, consisting of Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington counties: $12.95 million;
  • Central, consisting of Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne, Yates counties: $26.6 million; and
  • Western, consisting of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming counties: $13.8 million.

Entities eligible for the funding are:

  • a general hospital as defined in Section 2801(10) of the Public Health Law;
  • an established Article 28 network as defined in Part 10, New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations, Part 401, and which includes a general hospital; and
  • an entity established under the Public Health Law as an active parent or co-operator of a general hospital.

Contact: Karen Roach


Swine Flu Outbreak Mostly Has Mild Symptoms in New York

Commissioner of Health Richard Daines, M.D., issued a statement characterizing the outbreak of H1N1 (swine flu) in New York State as involving mild to moderate symptoms, similar to seasonal flu. He said that there have been hundreds, if not thousands, more cases of H1N1 than what have been submitted to laboratories for testing, because many individuals with mild symptoms do not go to a physician or hospital but instead recover at home.

As of 11 a.m. today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting 1,639 human infections in the United States, with 171 in New York State. CDC continues to issue and update interim guidance daily in response to the rapidly evolving situation.

The Department of Health (DOH) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene continue to update their guidance for hospitals as the situation progresses. Below are the most current New York State updates.

· New York State Department of Health: Health Advisory: Update #4, issued May 7, replaces all previously released H1N1 virus health advisories. This guidance is intended for providers seeing patients outside of New York City.

· New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Health Alert #16, issued May 6, provides updated infection control recommendations.

Refer to Health Alerts #13, #14, and #15 for information on current reporting requirements, laboratory diagnostic testing guidance, antiviral treatment, and prophylaxis recommendations.

Hospitals have been notified and provided guidance for the new H1N1 daily survey and additions to the weekly survey through the Health Provider Network (HPN). Contact: Christopher Smith


OASAS Announces Nursing Advisory Panel

In honor of National Nurses Week, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Karen Carpenter-Palumbo announced the members of a new OASAS Nursing Advisory Panel, which will provide expertise on nursing issues and their impact on addictions and public policy.

“The Nursing Advisory Panel is a prime opportunity to help create beneficial outcomes for individuals and families across our state while also promoting New York state nurses as leaders in the field of chemical dependency,” said Commissioner Carpenter-Palumbo. “Working collaboratively with the Nursing Advisory Panel will help OASAS to prioritize what is important to nurses, provide leadership opportunities, and support their overall professional needs.”

HANYS’ members participating on the Panel include:

· Brenda Thomas, R.N., M.A., Director of Nursing, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

· Carolyn Drennan, M.A., R.N., C.A.S.A.C., Director of Nursing, Beth Israel Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program

· Vanessa Hanley, R.N., B.S.N., Head Nurse, Health Educator, Kings County Hospital Center

· Angela King, R.N., B.S.N., Nurse Manager, Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern

· Stephanie Moczydlowski, R.N., B.S.N., M.S.W., Nurse Manager, Chemical Dependency, Canton-Potsdam Hospital

· Madeline Naegle, A.P.R.N.-B.C., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., Coordinator and Professor of Nursing, New York University

· Rose Perri, R.N., Nurse Coordinator, Phelps Memorial Hospital Center

· Randy Reichert, R.N., Nurse Manager, Long Beach Medical Center

· Daryl Sharp, R.N., C.S., N.P.P., F.N.A.P., Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing, University of Rochester

Contact: Cindy Levernois