ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)--IN 2021, NEW YORK LAWMAKERS PASSED A LAW TO ESTABLISH MINIMUM STAFF-TO-PATIENT RATIO STANDARDS IN HOSPITALS.  

A LITTLE MORE THAN A YEAR AFTER THE LAW WENT INTO EFFECT, GROUPS OF NURSES AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS TRAVELED TO ALBANY TO CALL OUT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH WHO THEY SAid ARE FAILING ON ENFORCEMENT. 

“If you become a patient in a New York hospital, you deserve enough nurses and front-line healthcare workers to take care of you and that’s not happening right now,” said Nancy Hagans, president of the New York State Nurses Association.

MICHAEL FITZSIMMONS, AN ICU NURSE AT ALBANY MEDical Center SAid STAFFING RATIOS THAT BY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ONE NURSE TO TWO PATIENTS FOR THE ICU AND ONE TO FOUR FOR ONE FOR NURSES ON THE MEDICAL AND SURGICAL UNIT FLOORS, OFTEN GET PUSHED BEYOND THE REQUIREMENT.  

FITZSIMMONS SAid NURSES ARE ALSO NOT receiving CONSISTENT BREAKS DURING THEIR SHIFTS – WHICH HE SAid CAN LEAD TO ISSUES.  

“And when I do take a lunch break, the nurse next to me has to watch my two patients. So basically, for a whole period of time the whole ratio changes to one nurse to four patients at times. So, it’s very difficult, very difficult working conditions in our hospitals,” said Fitzsimmons. 

NURSES WHO RALLIED IN ALBANY SAid THEY HAVE FILED THOUSANDS OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT THEIR HOSPITALS VIOLATING THE STAFFING STANDARDS.  

AND WHILE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SAID THEY HAVE INVESTIGATED 409 COMPLAINTS AND ISSUED 32 STATEMENTS OF DEFICIENCY TO hospitals; SOME NURSES SAid IT ISN’T ENOUGH.  

“We have only witnessed a handful of the DOH investigations so what do we say to the DOH? ‘Do your job!’” said Hagans.