KINGSTON – It was not the first time there has been a rally on the Kingston City Hall lawn to protest the actions of its neighbor.
But that happened Wednesday as nurses and local officials protested nursing layoffs at the Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley, specifically the closure of a 60-bed unit dedicated to mental health and substance abuse issues.
“To permanently remove these beds, to remove these great health care workers that provide those services,” said Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, “we are here again here today to say it’s completely unacceptable on every level.”
Lawrence Clayton, a registered nurse at the Health Alliance Kingston Campus, has experienced the low morale and uncertainty of his workplace.
“I have not been laid off. There have been a lot of lay-offs,” he said. “The effect is that registered nurses like myself are less and less able to provide quality patient care. We are expected to pick up the slack leftover from the layoffs.”
Ryan announced that he has launched a petition to demand that the state deny any application(s) submitted by Westchester Medical Center Health Network requesting decertification of inpatient beds licensed to provide behavioral health (mental health and substance use) stabilization and treatment to Ulster County residents at Health Alliance Hospital.