June 13, 2019


Statement from the Upstate NY Healthcare Coalition Regarding Mandatory Nurse Staffing Ratios

“In response to recent movement on legislation regarding government mandated nurse staffing ratios (A.2954 Gunther/S.1032 Rivera), we would like to express our opposition regarding enactment of this bill.

Upstate New York is vastly different from Downstate New York and New York City. We urge leadership in both houses to not apply their Downstate and New York City standards to Upstate New York’s rural, underserved, critical access, and sole community hospitals. Upstate New York hospitals are the safety net of their communities, often serving as the only source of emergency and primary care services for miles. Upstate New York hospitals and nursing homes are experiencing massive nursing and workforce shortages, which is extraordinarily concerning given that Upstate hospitals are the largest employers in their counties.

There are currently over 2,000 registered nurse vacancies across Upstate New York in hospital inpatient settings alone. To mandate that Upstate hospitals comply with this legislation is unrealistic and profoundly unfair. Government mandated nurse staffing ratios is merely a last-minute, political grab and has no evidence-based or positive outcomes for patients, caregivers or clinicians.

There is a misrepresentation that all nurses support this measure when, in fact, the bill would eliminate the ability of experienced nurse managers to adapt nurse staffing and assignments based on patient needs that can evolve quickly. This bill would ultimately pull resources away from patients already struggling to pay for healthcare by adding an annual $3 billion cost to our State’s, already astronomically high, budget. On behalf of the Upstate NY Healthcare Coalition, we urge lawmakers to oppose this legislation.”

The Upstate New York Healthcare Coalition is a partnership between Iroquois Healthcare Alliance and Pandion Optimization Alliance. The Coalition represents over 60 hospitals and healthcare systems in approximately 45 counties and 40,000 square miles across Upstate New York. Gary J. Fitzgerald is the President & CEO of Iroquois Healthcare Alliance and Travis Heider is the President & CEO of Pandion Optimization Alliance. To learn more, please visit


Gary J. Fitzgerald
President & CEO

Travis Heider
President & CEO