Cuomo to nurses: I’m on your side
By SHERRY HALBROOK
PEF and its nurses have been working hard for years to convince state leaders that it is vitally important to maintain safe staffing levels in health care facilities. But while many legislators have spoken out in support of safe staffing, no effective legislative action has been forthcoming.
This year, at PEF’s urging, Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke out June 22 about the issue and promised to help lift the heavy burdens carried by PEF nurses and other health care professionals.
Noting that “legislative solutions have not been forthcoming,” Cuomo said he recognizes that “quality of care is directly linked to appropriate staffing levels.” He promised to introduce legislation in the next session, which begins in January 2019, allowing the state Health Department to set safe staffing levels by regulation.
Cuomo is up for re-election this November.
Meanwhile, Cuomo directed the state Labor Department to “vigorously enforce workforce protections.
“Reports of nurses being forced to work through their lunch breaks, additional hours and without fair compensation, are not only unwise, as it diminishes the quality of care, but they violate state law, which will result in penalty-pay to each nurse, which I am directing the DOL to aggressively pursue,” the governor stated.
“We need and very much appreciate the governor’s leadership on this issue,” said PEF President Wayne Spence. “His support is key to finally ensuring nurses’ working conditions are fair and that patient care can achieve and maintain the highest standards.
“We eagerly look forward to seeing and supporting this legislation when Gov. Cuomo submits it in the 2019 session. Working together, we can achieve this win for all New Yorkers.”