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H+H chips away at goal to reduce reliance on temporary staff nurses with 150 new hires

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New York City Health + Hospitals has hired an additional 150 nurses in its ongoing effort to reduce reliance on travel and temporary staff, Mayor Eric Adams and H+H President Mitchell Katz announced today.

That brings the grand total of full-time hires to 1,000 new unionized nurses over the past eight months. The system has a goal to reduce its contract nurse count by 1,500 by the second half of fiscal year 2025.
 

Through February 2024, the latest available figures, cash disbursements are over budget by 5%, 2% of which is from spending on temporary staff, according to City Hall spokeswoman Erika Tannor. The practice has cost the public health system to overspend by at least $2 billion during the pandemic, when most hospitals were forced to look beyond their own employees to serve an influx of patients. The shift away from temporary staff was first announced in October.

Nonstaff nurses tend to be far more costly than staff positions; the public health system spent an average of $163.50 per hour on agency nurse wages, more than three times what the system paid staff nurses, according to the New York State Nurses Association, a labor union that represents nurses.

Since then, public system nurses’ push for pay parity with their private hospital counterparts has been granted with new union contracts that increased annual pay for H+H nurses by $16,000 last summer, with an additional $5,500 increase this year. The NYSNA negotiations ultimately will take the starting salary of a nurse from $84,744 to $106,301.

The new H+H hires also have access to continued education opportunities, including a nurse residency program that will provide on-the-job training about topics such as ethics, decision-making, leadership and mentorship opportunities. Additionally, H+H nurses are eligible for fellowships in both critical care and emergency care, Tannor said.

“Nurses stand on the frontlines of our health care system, and we were all witness to their heroic actions during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the mayor said. “They are often the first and last people you see when you visit a hospital or outpatient setting, and they are the backbone of our health care system.”

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Amanda Glodowski , 2024-05-20 11:48:07

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