Jacobson calls on Nuvance to fix staffing shortages immediately

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Staffing shortages at Vassar Brothers Medical Center have drawn the attention of State Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson (D, Newburgh).  

The lawmaker joined with hospital nurses and technicians on Wednesday afternoon near the Poughkeepsie hospital to warn the public of what they believe to be the dangers created by the shortage.

“This facility must always remember that without staff this building does not provide health care and without enough staff this building does not provide quality health care,” he said. “It is time for Vassar Brothers Medical Center and Nuvance, its parent company, to put patients ahead of profits and end this end the staffing shortages now.”

Jacobson and Francisco

Jacobson has been putting pressure on the Nuvance leaders to rectify the issues, first reported by Mid-Hudson News in June of this year.  “This summer, I wrote to Nuvance, and Peter Kelly, president of Vassar Brothers Medical Center responded that they are working to address Vassar Brothers’ ongoing staff shortage. But Mr. Kelly offered no assurance that immediate action would be taken,” he said.  “I have heard nightmare stories about patients being left in the hallway for hours because the emergency room is understaffed and overwhelmed,” Jacobson continued. I have heard about nurses on the night shift who are assigned 10 or more patients when they shouldn’t be responsible for more than seven. “This situation endangers our healthcare workers and the patients who rely upon them. It is not safe and it cannot stand.”

Emergency Room Nurse Erika Francisco noted that Vassar is asking her fellow nurses, members of the New York State Nurses Association, to recruit their friends to fill positions.  Nuvance is offering sign-on bonuses for new hires.  “I feel Vassar is an unsafe environment to work in and I don’t feel comfortable putting my friends in that position.”

Jacobson has sponsored safe staffing legislation which set clear baselines for hospitals and other healthcare facilities, but said he cannot wait for the new law to take effect, telling the gathered hospital staff, “I am here today to demand that Nuvance Healthcare to put its patients ahead of profit and end these staff shortages now.”