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NYSNA, the union that represents the 900 registered nurses employed by the county and the medical center, said that the budget being considered this week by county officials would dismantle the healthcare system and create havoc for what remains:

* Fewer RN would mean longer waits at the emergency room.

* There would be no on staff at schools to check on children’s health or administer medications.

* Citizens would lose their safety net for protecting the public’s health in an emergency.

Starting this weekend and running through Tuesday – when the legislature votes on the budget – NYSNA will sponsor a radio advertising campaign to inform the public and persuade county officials to preserve public health funding.

About 60 nurses are assigned to school health and another 50 are in community clinics – working in areas such as primary care, maternal-child health, and sexually transmitted diseases.

NYSNA maintains that it is not appropriate to eliminate preventive and primary care services that have a proven track record for being more effective and less costly than hospitalization for preventable conditions. Clinics operated by the County Health Department have been a cost-effective alternative to emergency-room care. If the clinics are closed, it is uncertain that these same patients will find their way to access county services through the ER at ECMC.

County nurses also provide much needed health services in the schools that are so important, all schools are required to have similar services. Children need school nurses and the county has an experienced and qualified staff. NYSNA believes it is not appropriate to use these children in a political debate.

With more than 34,000 members, NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation. It is an influential union for RNs, representing nurses in New York and New Jersey. Offering a wide range of services to its members, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and of the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

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Contact:
Mark Genovese (518) 782-9400, Ext. 353
Nancy Webber (518) 782-9400, Ext. 223


Erie County funding cuts will devastate public health,
Nurses urge officials to save health program funding

BUFFALO, Dec. 3, 2004 – Proposed cuts to the Erie County budget will have a devastating impact on public health services, according to the New York State Nurses Association.