Message From NYSNA:
<<"The New York State Nurses Association supports nurses in their efforts to provide quality care in a safe work environment. As the professional association for registered nurses in New York state, NYSNA understands the issues that are important to nurses.
State laws can have a major impact on a nurse's practice. In the past year, laws were enacted to prevent needlestick injuries and to create a statewide peer assistance program for nurses.
Bills are currently under consideration that would ban mandatory overtime, protect nurses who speak out about unsafe patient care, and establish statewide staffing guidelines:
Disclosing staffing ratios: Nurses know that appropriate staffing affects patient outcomes. NYSNA wrote a bill that requires hospitals and nursing homes to disclose and report nurse-to-patient staffing ratios and the mix of licensed and unlicensed personnel. It calls for facilities to disclose information indicating the quality of nursing care, such as the incidence of nosocomial infections, patient falls, and pressure ulcers. Public knowledge of staffing practices will help put "market pressure" on facilities.
To protect nursing practice and patients, the bill also prevents unlicensed personnel from using the title "nurse."
Bills and Sponsors: A.2581 (Gottfried), S.510 (DeFrancisco)
Status: Passed Assembly, Senate Health Committee
Establishing safe staffing guidelines: While the state requires healthcare facilities to provide "sufficient staffing" to meet patients' needs, there are no standards to define what safe staffing is. NYSNA has taken the lead in promoting safe staffing by writing and securing sponsors for a law that would create enforceable staffing standards in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
NYSNA has supported legislation that would set staffing ratios in nursing homes and other legislation to set guidelines for hospital staffing. In addition to S4779, NYSNA supports:
Bills and Sponsors: S.117 (Marcellino) to set staffing guidelines for hospitals - Senate Health Committee
A.4171 (Gottfried), S.2185 (Hannon) to establish staffing ratios for nursing homes
Status: Passed Assembly, Senate Health Committee
Prohibiting mandatory overtime: As staffing conditions have worsened, healthcare facilities have resorted to mandatory overtime. This practice is dangerous for both nurses and patients. NYSNA wrote a bill to prohibit employers from requiring nurses to work beyond their regularly scheduled shifts. This is a "zero tolerance" measure-except in declared emergency situations, there would be no mandatory overtime for RNs or
Bills and Sponsors: A.7127 (Nolan), S.3515 (Morahan)
Status: Assembly Rules Committee, Senate Labor Committee
Protecting nurse 'whistleblowers': After nurses were harassed by their employers for testifying at legislative hearings, NYSNA wrote and lobbied for passage of the Healthcare Whistleblower Protection Act. The bill passed the State Legislature in 2000 but was vetoed by Gov. George Pataki. It is again going through the legislative process this year.
This law would prohibit employers from retaliating against healthcare workers who report unsafe patient care practices to government agencies. Reports of retaliation would be investigated by the state, which can impose fines on employers for violating the law.
Nurses will be protected, not only when they report illegal activities, but also if they are required by their employer to violate the nursing code of ethics as it relates to safe patient care.
Bill and Sponsor: A.3259 (Nolan), S5620 (Spano)
Status: Passed Assembly; Senate /Rules Committee
Increasing the supply of nurses: NYSNA has promoted the introduction of a budget-related bill designed to encourage individuals to enter the nursing profession. This effort complements initiatives aimed at improving working conditions for RNs. NYSNA wrote legislation that would create the Empire State Professional Nursing Scholarship
Program to provide financial support to applicants who agree to deliver nursing care in an area of New York that is experiencing a nursing shortage.
Bills and Sponsors: S.3389 (LaValle) - Senate Health Committee
A.7470 (Scozzafava) - Assembly Health Committee
A.7814 (Pretlow) - Assembly Higher Education Committee
Protecting nursing practice: There have been attempts in recent years to hand off nursing practice to unlicensed personnel and other professions. NYSNA is committed to the principle that NURSES should practice nursing.
To protect the scope of nursing practice, NYSNA is:
Working to repeal an archaic legal exemption that allows unlicensed personnel to provide nursing care in certain mental health facilities.
Bills and Sponsors: S.1830 (Padavan) , A7284 (E. Sullivan)
Status: Senate Higher Education Committee; Assembly Ways and Means Committee
Fighting to close a loophole that allows the State Department of Health to independently create new types of healthcare professionals.
Bills and Sponsors: S.3498 (LaValle), A7211 (E. Sullivan)
Status: Senate Calendar, Assembly Higher Ed Committee
Opposing legislation to allow pharmacists to administer immunizations.
Bills and Sponsors: S.3657-A (Spano), A6971-A (Colman)
Status: Senate Health Committee, Assembly Higher Education Committee
Wrote a bill to allow nurses to provide home care in small group practices without having to be licensed as a home care agency.
Bills and Sponsors: S.2409 (Velella), A.1271 (Tonko)
Status: Senate Health Committee, Passed Assembly
Supports insurance laws that are "provider neutral," so patients of nurse providers have the same rights as patients of physicians.
Bills and Sponsors: A.5066 (Gottfried), S.3241 (Seward)
Status: Passed Assembly; Senate Insurance Committee
Wrote legislation requiring insurers to reimburse nurses at the same level as other providers when nurses deliver the same services.
Bills and Sponsors: A.2677 (Gottfried), S.3278 (Padavan)
Status: Insurance Committees in both houses
Encouraging continued competency: To promote quality care and in-service training programs for nurses, NYSNA wrote legislation that would require registered nurses practicing in New York state to complete 45 hours of continuing education during each three-year registration period. Exemptions are provided for illness, military duty, and nurses who are not engaged in direct care.
Bills and Sponsors: S.3107 (LaValle), A7653 (E. Sullivan)
Status: Senate Calendar; Assembly Higher Education Committee
Legislation text can be read at the NY State government website or contact NYSNA's Practice and Governmental Affairs Program at 518.782.9400, ext. 282 or by e-mail." >>>
A word from NY nurses to their legislators in support of these bills will help pass them into state law.