April 6, 2011
The New York State Nurses Association applauds the state legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo for not including the suspension of the Nursing Care Quality Protection Act (Public Health Law 2805t) in the 2011-12 state budget. This important law protects public health by disclosing nursing quality care indicators and staffing ratios and its suspension would not have eased the state’s fiscal burden.
“Having this important information available to the public, legislators and regulators is critical to evidence based healthcare reform,” said Tina Gerardi, MS, RN, CAE, CEO of the Nurses Association.
The Nurses Association also commends the inclusion of funding for SUNY and CUNY nursing programs as well as for the Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive and Senator Patricia K. McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarship program through 2016. These faculty loan forgiveness and scholarship programs encourage nurses to return to school for the advanced degrees necessary to educate the state’s next generation of nurses and, in the long run, will help to ease the nursing shortage.
The Nurses Association, however, continues to have concerns regarding the cap on Medicaid spending growth included in the final budget. Under the global spending cap with its ill defined “utilization controls” and rate reductions that the Department of Health (DOH) will be empowered to implement, facilities that are already in a brittle fiscal state may not survive, leading to closed facilities; under staffing; poorly coordinated care, fumbled care transitions; cuts in community supports and decreased access to health care among the state’s neediest residents.
The Nurses Association encourages careful consideration in the implementation of the cap and looks forward to working with DOH in ensuring that the spending controls do not jeopardize care for the state’s most vulnerable population.
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 professional association and union for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.