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Letter: Safe Staffing editorial failed to consider patients

The Dec. 20 editorial regarding the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act was woefully one-sided, broadcasting what nursing home and hospital administrators want, but failing to consider what is best for New York State’s patients.

The editorial addressed what helps nursing home administrators, rather than what helps nursing home residents, hospital patients and their loved ones. The recent nursing home series painstakingly documented what happens when there’s no mandated staffing: bedsores, patients who are not fed or bathed, dirty rooms and worse.

Almost anyone who has stepped foot in nursing home has seen how long residents have to wait for water, to be taken to the bathroom or for therapy. If you consulted patients, families and advocates, they would say that the legislation the editorial panned is long overdue.

The quoted cost of the Safe Staffing bill provided by industry lobbying groups does not account for the price tag of leaving hospitals and nursing homes understaffed: the settlements and judgments stemming from bedsores, falls, and infections; the expense of high staff turnover due to poor working conditions; Medicare penalties for high 30-day readmission rates; or the most horrifying toll, an increase in “failure to rescue” in hospitals, when patients die from a treatable complication. Nursing homes and hospitals ought to be required to have an adequate number of staff trained to spot and address – or, better, prevent – these disasters in the first place.

Alexia Christodoulides, BSN


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