NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
March 6, 2002
Three-Way Agreement Reached on Health Care Whistleblower Protection Bill
Nurses Credit Assembly for Leadership as House Passes Measure

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan today announced Assembly passage of healthcare "whistleblower" legislation that would protect health-care workers who make public instances of wrongdoing by health care facilities. The bill has also been agreed to by the Senate and Governor George Pataki.

Today's action marks the fourth consecutive year that the Assembly has passed health-care "whistleblower" legislation.

The bill (A.9454) would prohibit health-care employers from retaliating against their workers who advocate for patient care by going public with cases of institutional wrongdoing.

"Fighting for the rights of their patients should not leave nurses and other health-care workers fighting for their jobs," said Silver.

Silver praised Nolan, chair of the Assembly Labor Committee and sponsor of the bill, for her long-standing commitment to ensuring that workers who seek to act in the best interest of their patients do not fall victim to retaliation.

"This legislation has had a long and arduous history, and I credit Assemblywoman Nolan for seeing it through and for being a strong and effective voice for all workers in this state," said Silver, who noted that earlier versions of the bill had been resisted by the Senate and vetoed by the governor.

"New Yorkers rely on their health care professionals to be qualified and conscientious," said Nolan. "These workers play a critical role in ensuring quality health care and must be afforded protections."

"We're proud of New York's nurses and members of the Assembly who refused to let this issue die after the veto of a 'whistleblower' bill last year," said Tina Gerardi, deputy executive director of the New York State Nurses Association.

"The Assembly for many years passed legislation designed to get justice for nurses who are penalized by their employers when they courageously speak up about unsafe patient care. Nurses must be able to fulfill their roles as patient advocates and have confidence that the law will support them," said Gerardi.


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