The American Nurses Association - New York (ANA-NY) is engaged in advocacy at the state level of government. In conjunction with our full-time lobbyist, ANA-NY advocates for the interests of our members and the Association and provides a voice for our profession. This document was developed by the ANA-NY Legislation Committee and outlines the legislative priorities for ANA-NY.
The legislative priorities for ANA-NY are determined by our mission, statement and purpose. The ANA-NY fosters high standards of nursing and promotes the professional and educational advancement of registered and advanced practice registered nurses to improve health care for all. Our goal is to promote the professional and educational advancement of registered and advanced practice registered nurses; and improve the work environment and welfare of registered and advanced practice registered nurses so that all people have access to the highest quality care possible.
During the 2021 legislative session, safe staffing was passed by both houses and signed into law by the Governor. The final bill that passed created clinical staffing committees in each general hospital that will be charged with developing and overseeing each facility’s specific staffing plan. ANA-NY strongly supported this version of the bill that supports outcomes-based staffing: based on research and evidence-based practices, determined by each facility’s needs. This model is the best way to ensure adequate staffing at each facility. The legislation addressed the need of ancillary staffing as well. Too often, staffing plans eliminate other care team positions which shift noncore patient care work to registered nurses. The new law will need appropriate regulatory guidelines to be implemented. ANA-NY will continue to be engaged on this issue, monitoring and commenting on the proposed regulations to enact this law. We will also assess whether future changes are needed and respond accordingly to ensure that the intent of the safe staffing law is implemented.
Public Health and Health Equity Prioritization
Registered nurses are the single most important influence in the delivery and management of care for patients. Across the entire patient experience, and wherever there is someone in need of care, registered and advanced practice nurses work tirelessly to identify and meet the needs of the individual. Ensuring a robust patient experience means that registered and advanced practice nurses must play a pivotal role in public health. It is incumbent on the profession to not only treat those who are sick or injured but to work to prevent illness and promote health. The profession is dedicated to ensuring both population health and health equity. Public health must be focused on promoting and protecting the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play. Public health means addressing determinants of health, which includes ensuring people receive needed vaccinations to prevent the spread of disease; understanding the health risks associated with smoking and other risky behaviors; developing and supporting programs to ensure that individuals can pursue and achieve a healthy lifestyle; and evaluating the social and environmental determinants of health. Far too often, zip codes determine the state of individuals’ health and access to care. ANA-NY will support timely legislation that is critical to public health and ensuring adequate access to healthcare for all New Yorkers. Further, ANA-NY will oppose legislation or budgetary cuts that lead to a diminished healthcare experience or denial of access to care.
Quality Nursing Education
Registered nurses trust ANA-NY because of our dedication to standards, guidelines, and principles. We work hard to elevate the nursing profession by defining the values and priorities for registered nurses. With the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critically important for registered nurses in all specialties and roles to practice to the full extent of their education. With our focus on nursing, ANA-NY is committed to recognizing and alleviating the barriers that registered nurses face. We support scope of practice legislation that acknowledges all facets of nurse education and training for registered and advanced practice registered nurses. We oppose legislation that infringes on registered nursing scope of practice by professionals and others not properly trained and educated to provide nursing care. Further, ANA-NY supports legislation that would require ongoing continuing education for registered nurses in New York.
Ensuring Future Pandemic Readiness
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the world as we know it. The pandemic has further strained a healthcare system that was already struggling and added new stressors that had never been contemplated. ANA-NY supports legislation that would: permanently codify the waiver of certain practice restrictions waived by executive order during the pandemic; protect registered and advanced practice nurses from retaliation when speaking up about safety and patient care issues; support nurses’ mental health and well-being; and create an essential employee compensation fund or benefit. ANA-NY further supports legislation designed to better respond to future pandemics and ensure that all healthcare workers have access to the needed resources to adequately treat their patients and ensure their own health and safety while performing their duties.
Health Care Reform
ANA-NY recognizes the ongoing debate over health care reform. We remain committed to educating registered nurses about how the changing system impacts patients’ lives and the nursing profession. We believe all health care reform initiatives should follow these four principles: ensure universal access to a standard package of essential health care services for all New Yorkers; optimize primary, community-based, and preventive services while supporting the cost-effective use of innovative, evidence-based, technology-driven, acute care in-hospital services; encourage economic models of health care services that support those who do not have the means to share in costs; and, ensure a skilled workforce dedicated to providing high quality health care services. ANA-NY will support any legislation that supports these four principles and will oppose any legislation that undermines these principles.