Legislative Update April 8, 2011

8 Apr

Interstate Nurse Licensure Compact

The Interstate Nurse Licensure Compact will receive a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Monday, April 11 at 1:00 PM in Room 15 of the Capitol (lower level). This bill has already been heard in the House HHS Committee, so this is our last chance to weigh in.

This bill is being pushed by hospital systems who want the ability to quickly and easily move large numbers of nurses across state lines. They want to lower our standards to the levels of Texas, Tennessee and Mississippi. They want to take away the state of Minnesota’s ability to regulate nurses, and give it to an unelected, unaccountable group of Board of Nursing executives. This bill is not good for patients, and it’s not good for nurses. We cannot sit quietly by and let this happen.
We urge you to come to the hearing if you are able, wear red and stand with other MNA nurses who oppose this bill that will put patients at risk and undermine our practice. If you can attend, please RSVP to Geri Katz at 651-414-2855 or geri.katz@mnnurses.org.

Background information:

MNA’s fact sheet

Bill Text

Criminal Background Checks of Nurses (HF1087 – McElfatrick/SF1053 – Sheran)

The Minnesota Board of Nursing (BON) is bringing forward legislation to require criminal background checks and fingerprinting of all new applicants as well as a process for conducting these on current license holders. MNA supports criminal background checks as an important and necessary tool to ensure patient safety. But we question whether the BON needs this authority, since Minnesota law already requires criminal background checks and allows for fingerprints for nurses caring for vulnerable adults which includes all nurses working in hospitals and long-term care.  Additionally Minnesota employers already are conducting background checks so this appears to be redundant and costly for the state of Minnesota. MNA also believes the bill goes too far in proposing a plan requiring fingerprints of all current license holders.

This bill will get a hearing in the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on Tuesday, April 12 at 2:30 pm in Room 200 of the State Office Building.  Please attend and wear red!

 

Background information
Bill text

Budget

The House and Senate are wrapping up their budget omnibus bills, and will be moving to conference committees soon. After the conference committees have done their work, the final bills will go to the Governor to be signed or vetoed. We expect the Governor to veto most of the bills because they make cuts that are too deep without raising any revenue from the Minnesotans who can afford to pay their fair share.

On Wednesday, the House passed its Health and Human Services Omnibus Budget bill, which among other things repeals the Medicaid expansion ordered by Governor Dayton earlier this year. This move is devastating for 100,000 people who will lose coverage, and is bad for the nurses and providers who care for these patients.

Background information:

MNA letter to Representatives

Community Paramedic

MNA alerted you earlier this legislative session about a bill that would create a new health care worker, a Community Paramedic, who would essentially do public health nursing.  

Despite our objections, the Community Paramedic bill passed the Senate last month, and on Monday it passed the House and then was signed by the Governor.  However, MNA scored a victory with an amendment that requires a Public Health Nurse to be a member of the stakeholder group that will determine the list of services that a community paramedic can provide and be reimbursed for.  Our champion during the House floor debate on the bill was Representative Karen Clark, RN, from Minneapolis. She eloquently defended the role and importance of public health nursing, and deserves our thanks. Please take a moment and email Representative Clark at: rep.karen.clark@house.mn and thank her!

Background information:

MNA fact sheet

Bill text

 

HMOs profit cap

On Tuesday, Governor Dayton brokered an agreement with Minnesota’s health plans to place a one-time 1% cap on their profits. MNA applauds this step toward holding the HMOs accountable, and urges the Governor and legislators to continue to demand the HMOs serve Minnesota taxpayers efficiently. MNA and many of our community allies question why the HMOs have $2.5 billion in reserves, at the same time that they are raising premiums and denying coverage to Minnesotans.

Background information:

Governor’s Press Release

Pioneer Press story on HMO surplus