WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced today that on Friday, October 27 the committee will hold a field hearing in New Brunswick, New Jersey entitled “Overworked and Undervalued: Is the Severe Hospital Staffing Crisis Endangering the Well-Being of Patients and Nurses?”
The field hearing comes as health care workers around the country stand together and go on strike, including 1,700 nurses at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. Nurses at the hospital went out on the picket line on August 4 after hospital leadership refused to establish safe staffing levels and improve dangerous working conditions that have put the health of patients at risk.
Meanwhile, in 2021, the top five executives in the hospital system made $40 million in compensation and, instead of bargaining in good faith, are paying traveling nurses up to $300 an hour to replace striking workers.
In addition to hearing directly from striking nurses and nurses who won safe staffing protections, the HELP Committee has invited executives from the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital to testify.
“Nurses in New Jersey and all over America have been stretched to the breaking point as a result of unsafe and totally inadequate staffing levels that threaten the health of patients and cause massive burnout among health care workers,” Sanders said. “That has got to change. What the nurses at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital are asking for is not radical. For the sake of patient safety, they need strong nurse-to-patient staffing ratios.”
The nursing crisis is a major focus of the HELP Committee under Sanders. In February, the committee held a hearing on the topic and Sanders made nurses a major focus of his work on historic legislation to help solve the primary care crisis in America.
What: Senate HELP Committee Field Hearing
When: 9:00 a.m. ET, Friday, October 27, 2023
Where: Nicholas Music Center, Rutgers University, 85 George St., New Brunswick, N.J. The hearing will also be livestreamed on the HELP Committee’s website.
Who: HELP Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders and Committee Members. Testifying witnesses to be announced.