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New York nurses union unveiling $1M campaign for 'safe staffing' bill

ALBANY — With the state legislative session winding down, the union representing nurses statewide on Monday will begin an ad campaign to pressure senators to pass a law requiring minimum nurse-to-patient staffing levels.

The New York State Nurses Association, which represents more than 42,000 nurses, will spend more than $1 million on television, radio and digital ads across the state to push for the “safe staffing” bill. The ads will run through the June 20 end of the legislative session, a union spokesman said.

The TV ad rips New York hospitals for their safety rankings.

“For years hospitals have put profits before patients,” the ad says.

The union says hospitals with 1:8 nurse-to-patient ratios experience five additional deaths per 1,000 patients compared with those that staff with 1:4 ratios.

But the hospitals have argued that mandating nursing staff levels could actually jeopardize care by diverting money from other critical resources. They also say it would hurt health care facilities that are already struggling financially.

The Democrat-controlled state Assembly passed the bill in 2016, but it died in the GOP-led Senate. The Assembly has not passed it this year, but it’s believed the votes are there if the Senate acts, which insiders say is unlikely before the end of the session.

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