New York, NY – Healthcare executives across the state are once again proving the system is all about profit and not at all about people.
As the Omicron variant packs hospitals with new Covid cases, more than 250 nursing homes and trade groups in New York State are using their combined resources to block new state law capping profits and making sure enough revenue is spent on direct resident care and staffing.
“Once again, New York’s healthcare system is collapsing under enormous strain, due to the highly infectious Omicron variant,” New York State Nurses Association [NYSNA] President Nancy Hagans told LaborPress in an email. “The top priority of healthcare executives and our policymakers should be to ensure safe staffing in hospitals and nursing homes so that patients can receive lifesaving care. This is a crucial time for healthcare systems to protect, retain and recruit frontline healthcare workers, not to use their resources to fight against safety standards for healthcare professionals and our patients.”
Covid cases are up nearly 65-percent across the Empire State, prompting renewed fears that a system already overly-reliant on short staffed, overburdened healthcare professionals cannot endure much longer.
Yvonne Armstrong, senior executive vice-president of 1199SEIU’s Long Term Care Division, released a statement praising the legislative action New York State officials took last spring to address the ongoing threat to the system’s stability — and criticizing the healthcare industry’s for-profit fat cats for trying to undo those efforts.
“The Legislature acted in response to numerous concerns about low staffing and poor quality in our state’s nursing homes by passing a law to ensure that a largely for-profit industry spends the majority of its revenue on the residents in their care,” Armstrong said. “It is disappointing that the industry is focusing its energy and attention on fighting these reasonable standards rather than working with all stakeholders to address common challenges and improve quality of care.”
Advocates for the new law say it could mean an additional $500 million pumped into resident care. The nursing homes and trade groups seeking to gut the measure say, in part, that it amounts to the taking of private property for public purposes and violates the U.S. Constitution.
Covid ultimately killed some 15,000 New Yorkers in long-term care after former Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered patients with Covid-19 be readmitted to nursing homes.
Last week, more than 367,685 new coronavirus cases were reported throughout the state.