"The surge of COVID-19 made it very evident that New York's hospitals and nursing homes are chronically understaffed, especially in the most underfunded institutions across our state. During the three public hearings I recently presided over, numerous nurses shared heartbreaking experiences on how the lack of adequate staff, particularly at the height of the crisis, forced them to work under almost impossible conditions and was detrimental to patient care and outcomes.
This week, the nurses and healthcare workers who got us through the worst days of this pandemic are renewing their call for New York State to finally address and set adequate staffing levels at our hospitals and nursing homes. The New York State Department of Health is using the release of its long-overdue report to defend maintaining the status quo by claiming that financial constraints and workforce shortages prevent us from even considering the implementation of safe staffing.
While I can admit that there are obstacles to setting uniform staffing levels throughout our healthcare delivery system, none of them are insurmountable. It is clear that we cannot maintain a status quo that places patients and healthcare workers in harm's way. We can and must find adequate solutions that fairly address understaffing and I renew my commitment to work with every stakeholder to accomplish that goal."