Legislative Update, April 5, 2012

5 Apr

Note:  The Legislature is tentatively planning to adjourn today (April 5)  for a short spring recess

HMO Accountability
Great news! The four Healthcare Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) have returned $73 million dollars in excess profits to the taxpayers. Nurses played an integral part in holding HMOs accountable and advocating for further transparency. Please follow the link below to find out more information.

http://mnablog.com/2012/04/03/mna-rns-have-helped-lead-charge-in-holding-hmos-accountable/

National Nurse Licensure Compact
In addition to being part of the Senate HHS Omnibus bill, the National Nurse Licensure Compact is moving as stand-alone bills in the Senate and House (SF230-Gerlach/HF462-Norton). MNA opposes this bill because it will decrease nursing standards, put patients at risk, abdicate state’s rights to regulate nursing practice and potentially lead to job loss. There continues to be strong union opposition to this bill. Encourage your State Senator to vote NO by clicking the link below.

http://www.mnnurses.org/grassrootsaction

Criminal Felony Neglect of Vulnerable Adult
The conference committee on SF1586 – making the neglect of a vulnerable adult a felony – met on Wednesday to work out minor differences between the House and Senate bills. The committee resolved a few technical differences without changing the majority of the bill and then passed the bill back to the floor. The final product still includes MNA’s language protecting nurses and other health care workers from being punished for decisions outside of their control, such as staffing. We expect final passage tomorrow and a signature by the Governor.
This was a rare example of bipartisan cooperation on behalf of patient safety, and we are proud that MNA was able to contribute to a bill that advocates for patients and protects health care workers.

Willmar
Over the past four years, the Willmar State Operated Services mental health facility has undergone numerous changes to both its staff and the services it provides, and last session the legislature mandated closure of the facility by April 1, 2012.
However, MNA nurses and lobbyists, AFSCME Council 5 and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) – all of whom represent employees at the facility – have worked closely with Representative Bruce Vogel and Senator Joe Gimse to bring forth legislation (SF2544/HF2503) that would keep the Willmar site open for another year while the DHS has an opportunity to do a full review of the State Operated Services division. That language was included in the House Health and Human Services Omnibus bill. Because MNA has been working so closely with Department of Human Services officials and Governor Mark Dayton’s office to find the best possible solution for the situation in Willmar, the legislation is likely to pass.

Regional Action Councils – Nurses mobilizing around policy and politics
As you’ve followed the action during this legislative session and campaign season have you wondered how you can get involved on behalf of nurses and patients
Nurses are forming six Regional Action Councils around the state to mobilize around policies and candidates that are good for nurses, patients and working families. The RACs will soon begin screening and accountability process for candidates seeking MNA’s endorsement. It is critical that nurses take advocacy beyond the bedside, and weigh in on the policies that affect our practice and patients.
If you are interested in learning more about the Regional Action Council for your area, please contact:

One Response to “Legislative Update, April 5, 2012”

  1. Linda Hamilton RN, President MNA April 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    As the legislative session winds up I want to thank our great staff and our members. Together we stood up for our nursing practice, our rights to collective bargaining and our advocaced for our patients and citizens of Minnesota. There is no doubt we made a difference in promoting our Main Street values.

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