A handful of New York Metropolis hospitals are scaling again providers and making ready to usher in momentary employees as they brace for a possible nurses’ strike that might begin Monday morning.
Members of the New York State Nurses Affiliation at seven hospitals and well being methods throughout the 5 boroughs submitted 10-day strike notices on Dec. 30 after voting to authorize a strike final month. Since then, New York-Presbyterian, Richmond College Medical Middle and Maimonides Medical Middle have managed to narrowly keep away from a strike by reaching tentative three-year contract agreements.
The risk nonetheless looms at some medical facilities within the Montefiore and Mount Sinai well being networks, as effectively as at Flushing Hospital Medical Middle in Queens and on the BronxCare Well being System. Some 10,000 nurses might nonetheless strike if negotiations continue to stall.
Nurses mentioned they’re preventing for higher well being advantages and pay raises that may sustain with the speed of inflation. However the greatest sticking level is the necessity for elevated staffing, which they mentioned is essential to affected person care.
“We do not take striking lightly,” mentioned NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, who can be a nurse at Maimonides, at a press convention held by the union on Wednesday. “Striking is always a last resort. But we are prepared to strike if our bosses give us no other option to protect our patients.”
Nurses and different staff at hospitals throughout the nation – together with in California, Minnesota and upstate New York – have gone on strike over the previous two years, usually citing staffing points which were exacerbated in the course of the pandemic.
However some New York Metropolis hospital representatives at the moment are pushing again — and calling out nurses for not accepting their contract gives. They’re highlighting how a strike might threaten affected person security.
“Make no mistake — a strike will have an immediate impact on the health and well-being of many New Yorkers,” Kenneth Raske, president of the Better New York Hospital Affiliation, mentioned in an announcement.
An oft-cited research of nursing strikes in New York between 1984 and 2004 discovered that they did have an effect on affected person outcomes. Performed by MIT and Carnegie Mellon College, the research discovered the in-hospital mortality price went up almost 20% for sufferers admitted in the course of the strikes. Sufferers have been additionally extra probably to be readmitted inside 30 days of being discharged.
Raske added that some hospitals are ready to spend “tens of millions of dollars” to rent momentary employees within the case of a strike however that “even those institutions will experience dangerous gaps in care because of the nurses’ lack of experience on specific units.”
Mount Sinai directors mentioned affected person providers are already being affected on the hospitals the place negotiations are ongoing. Places embody Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside and Mount Sinai West. The respective presidents of the hospitals despatched a letter to employees Wednesday stating they’re canceling some elective surgical procedures on the amenities, diverting the vast majority of ambulances to different hospitals, and transferring infants within the neonatal intensive care items to hospitals outdoors of the Mount Sinai system.
“We are working to safely discharge as many patients as appropriate,” the hospital presidents mentioned within the letter, which was supplied to Gothamist by Mount Sinai spokesperson Lucia Lee.
They added that, within the case of a strike, the plan is to continue inpatient providers at Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai West, whereas limiting Mount Sinai Morningside to emergency room providers and inpatient youngster psychiatry.
The letter mentioned hospital administration had provided nurses “a deal comparable to New York-Presbyterian’s agreement with NYSNA on wages and benefits,” however nurses had not accepted it. This declare was echoed by representatives from Montefiore Medical Middle.
“New York State Nurses Association leadership at Montefiore refuses to come to an agreement despite a generous offer that includes an 18% wage increase [over three years], fully funded health care for life, and a significant increase in registered nurses in the emergency departments, among other benefits,” mentioned Joe Solmonese, Montefiore’s senior vp of presidency relations and communications, in an announcement on Wednesday. He mentioned these phrases mirrored the supply not too long ago accepted by New York-Presbyterian nurses.
Solmonese mentioned Montefiore made this supply regardless of monetary troubles on the well being system, which misplaced greater than $117 million on operations alone within the first 9 months of 2022, in accordance to monetary statements.
Hagans of NYSNA countered that Montefiore “has some of the highest-paid hospital executives in all New York City.” Dr. Philip Ozuah, Montefiore’s president and CEO, had a compensation package deal price almost $7.5 million in 2020, in accordance to public tax data. Crain’s reported that the common money compensation for NYC hospital executives was $4.48 million in 2020.
She additionally mentioned at a NYSNA press convention Thursday that Montefiore and Mount Sinai might have provided related wage will increase as New York-Presbyterian however haven’t met their nurses’ staffing calls for in the identical manner. She famous that staffing wants differ by hospital.
A state legislation that took impact in January 2022 required every hospital in New York to set up a committee of frontline workers and directors to decide the suitable staffing ranges on every unit. These staffing plans have been submitted to the state Well being Division and are supposed to be enforced beginning this 12 months.
However NYSNA spokesperson Kristi Barnes mentioned hospitals are “nowhere close” to making these nurse-to-patient ratios a actuality, which is why nurses are pushing for extra staffing provisions of their contracts.
All three hospitals and well being methods which have reached tentative contract agreements to this point have provided wage will increase of seven% within the first 12 months, 6% within the second and 5% within the ultimate 12 months. Nurses at these hospitals should now to vote on whether or not to settle for the proposed contracts.