Union looking to create Upstate Nurse Corps
Apr 24, 2020 1:45 pm
Bethany Bump is reporting for the Times Union the New York State Nurses Association is creating a program that would redeploy nurses from upstate hospitals to the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis in New York City. Hundreds of upstate nurses have expressed interest in helping overwhelmed hospitals downstate, the union said. A program that sends them to areas in need could keep nurses working at a time when many are facing layoffs, furloughs and reduced hours due to the pandemic’s impact on hospital revenues, they said. Many details of the Upstate COVID Nurse Corps, as it’s been dubbed, are still being negotiated. At least one major hospital system upstate and six hospitals downstate have expressed a willingness to participate, said Kristi Barnes, a union spokesperson. “There are upstate hospitals that are paying for nurses to sit on their hands, and we’re saying — if you’re still paying them, at least in the short term, before layoffs or furloughs, send them down where they’re needed,” Barnes said. New York has agreed to pay costs associated with travel, food and accommodations, but other details remain to be worked out, she said. The union is trying to get Albany Medical Center on board and has presented the health facility with two proposals — one to join the Nurse Corps program and another to settle a one-year, emergency COVID contract. Read the full story in the Times Union.