More than one hundred nurses rallied at the Empire State Plaza Saturday, calling for the Department of Health to make some changes to the state's healthcare system. Time Warner Cable News reporter Madeleine Rivera was at the rally and has the story.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The future of the state's healthcare system looks bleak--at least that's what the members of the New York State Nurses' Association say if changes aren't made.
"The patients are at risk, and if you read the newspapers, the nurses are also at risk. We are in a super high risk job that can only get worse," said Marva Wade, a retired nurse.
They called for several improvements. Topping the list, the lack of healthcare access-specifically for low income patients of color.
"Everyday, I see patients who come in who have no healthcare, who come in that have disease processes that could have been prevented," said Lisa Blodgett, a nurse at Ellis Hospital.
Nurses also complained about the dangerously low levels of staffing at hospitals.
"How can patients be taken care of properly? You can't! We have to have nurses. We have to have patient nurse ratio," said Blodgett.
But, just how can the Department of Health fix things? Well, NYSNA president Judy Sheridan Gonzalez says an overhaul of the state's insurance system could help.
"We need to do something about getting a single payer system," said Gonzalez.
On Thursday, the DOH also announced a plan to pump $8 billion to the state's healthcare system. But, Gonzalez isn't sold on it.
"We're very concerned about where that money's going to go. That money needs to be fed to communities with the greatest need," said Gonzalez.
NYSNA says there's a bill in the works that specifies the staffing they need to deliver safe care.
There's no one at the Department of Health on Saturday. But, NYSNA says they'll present their petition to the DOH on Tuesday. This isn't the first time that NYSNA has reached out to the DOH. They held a similar rally last year and got some results.
"We kept the for profits out. So, we did make a huge impact, yes," said Gonzalez.
A huge impact, yes, but for NYSNA, there's more that still needs to be done.