Mount Sinai Fined $2 Million for Unsafe Nurse Staffing

Mount Sinai Health System has been ordered to pay over $2 million in penalties for persistently unsafe nurse staffing levels across three of its New York City hospitals. According to a ruling by an independent arbitrator the hospitals include,

  • Mount Sinai Morningside
  • Mount Sinai West
  • Mount Sinai Hospital

These hospitals violated staffing ratios mandated in contracts with the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA).

Mount Sinai Morningside was fined nearly $934,000 for failing to meet nurse staffing levels in its emergency department. According to NYSNA, the hospital did not schedule enough nurses to safely care for patients, with some nurses reporting patient loads of up to 10 patients at a time. 

Furthermore, alongside the financial compensation, the arbitrator mandated Morningside management to employ the necessary 94 full-time equivalents (FTEs), offer break relief, and compensate nurses for owed overtime incentives during the upcoming pay period.

Unsafe Staffing on Labor and Delivery Units at Mount Sinai West

Mount Sinai West was ordered to pay $957,000 in penalties for chronically understaffing nurses on its labor and delivery unit. Nurses reported that they were frequently unable to take meal and rest breaks, and had to work unpaid overtime to complete their work. High patient loads, especially on night and weekend shifts, made it difficult for nurses to provide safe and adequate care.

The arbitrator directed Mount Sinai to halt its actions, recruit sufficient nurses to adhere to the union contract, allocate an adequate number of registered nurses (RNs), and implement break relief measures ensuring uninterrupted meal and break periods without patient assignments for all shifts.

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Mount Sinai Hospital was fined $240,000 for failing to schedule enough nurses in one of its oncology unit, 11C. Nurses in the unit reported unsafe patient loads, especially for a unit treating immunocompromised cancer patients. NYSNA filed over 70 official grievances detailing shifts that did not meet the contractually obligated number of nurses. The penalties aim to remedy persistently unsafe staffing levels that put oncology patients at risk.

The fines come as NYSNA continues to push for the passage of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act, which would make hospital-level nurse staffing plans publicly available and mandate nurse input on staffing decisions. Mount Sinai Health System stated that it is “fully committed to providing the safest patient care” and is working with NYSNA to make improvements to nurse staffing levels.

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