Mount Sinai has faced $700K in arbitration over nurse ratios

New York City-based Mount Sinai Hospital has racked up $700,000 in arbitration awards it must pay to the New York State Nurses Association, Politico reported Oct. 10.

Since January, the hospital and its nurses have been at odds over a contract that "enacted a binding enforcement mechanism for nurse-staffing violations," according to Politico

The latest ruling comes after an arbitrator pointed out in May that the hospital showed a "continuous chronic pattern of ratios being violated" — marking the first time Mount Sinai was held liable, as well as the first time a hospital in New York City had been held liable for violating contracted staffing ratios. The initial arbitration award to the NYSNA was $127,000. 

As part of the collective bargaining agreement with the NYSNA, in August, Mount Sinai was directed to "Follow a safe staffing ratio of 1:2 and 1:1 for high acuity patients. Provide nurses with full meal and break periods and staff break nurses to cover patient assignments during break time. Continuously post, recruit and hire more nurses to fill remaining vacancies on the unit to attain safe staffing on day and night shifts," according to a press release from the nurses' association. 

Since January, the hospital has reportedly spent $1.9 million on travel nurses and $285,000 on per diem nurses to address its nursing shortage. As a result of that effort, the arbitrator initially reduced the amount by 20 percent citing its progress, but "concluded the unit was still short the equivalent of 305 day shifts and 245 night shifts during that time period," Politico reported.

A hospital spokesperson told the outlet that it is "confident that Mount Sinai is appropriately resourced to provide excellent care as we continue to recruit top caregiver talent and maintain the highest standards of clinical quality for our patients." 

Becker's also reached out to Mount Sinai Hospital to request additional comment and received the following statement: "Hospitals everywhere have grappled with nursing and other health care worker shortages, and these are not challenges unique to any health care provider and have been well documented across the city, state and country."

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