MNA Legislative Update, March 6, 2015

6 Mar


Workplace Violence Prevention bill on the move

The bill to prevent violence against healthcare workers (HF1087-Atkins/SF1071-Wiger) continues to make progress in both the House and Senate, with bipartisan support. The bill will be heard in the Senate Health and Human Services and Housing Committee on Wednesday, March 11 at noon. Please attend if you are able!

What:   Violence Against Health Care Workers Bill hearing
                When:  Wednesday, March 11, noon
                Where: Room 15, Capitol

The high profile incident last year at St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood received lots of press, and along with the introduction of this bill, has raised awareness about the serious problem of violence in the health care setting.

However, many legislators do not understand the real scope of the problem. Have you ever experienced violence in the workplace, either at the hands of a patient, family member, or other visitor? Please write to your legislators today, tell them your story, and ask them to support the Violence Against Health Care Workers bill.

Community EMT
On Wednesday MNA nurses testified at the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee hearing on HF261, a bill to establish a certification for a Community EMT. The bill, authored by Rep. Tara Mack of Apple Valley, aims to prevent hospital readmissions by sending a CEMT to visit a patient within a day of discharge from the hospital. MNA shares the goal of improving public health by giving patients more time and more care, but we are concerned that the new CEMT would be performing the duties of a Public Health Nurse, which CEMTs are not educated or trained to do.

Nurse Stacy Enger  testified:
“The core problem isn’t how can we take better care of patients at home. What we really need to address here is how can we take better care of patients before they ever leave the hospital. We need to make sure nurses, doctors and staff have the time they need to assess, educate, and counsel every patient properly when they’re discharged. We’re so rushed at the hospital handling more and more patients at one time, the basic chores of taking care of people are slipping by. Every extra hour somebody can spend with a patient before they go home means ten hours saved in their recovery time and their time asking for help again on how to get better. In many cases, that means calling 911 again.”

Safe Patient Standard bill update
Our campaign to establish a minimum standard of care for patients that protects patient safety through safe staffing is continuing to gain support at the Capitol.  Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) has again agreed to take on the bill.  Atkins needs nurse stories of unsafe staffing situations as well as patient stories about not receiving safe or quality care while in the hospital.  If you or your loved one have ever experienced an unsafe staffing situation as a patient, please go to this website page and write your story.  Your story comes straight to us at MNA, and you can choose to include or leave out any personal or medically sensitive details.  The website is  You can also email any stories straight to us at

Right to Work passes in Wisconsin
Today the Wisconsin Assembly passed a Right to Work law, which now moves on to Governor Scott Walker for his signature.

“Right to Work” makes it harder for workers to join together to work for better wages, benefits and working conditions. “Right to Work” is being pushed nationally, not by workers, but by big political donors who favor corporate interests over working people and the middle class.

Right to Work will affect bargaining units in Wisconsin represented by MNA.

Wednesdays at the Capitol
Most Wednesdays we bring small groups of nurses to the Capitol to meet with legislators about our priority bills. Our next visit, March 11, has been “adopted” by the nurses of Methodist Hospital. All MNA members are welcome.

We’ll meet at the MNA office for a briefing and a quick training on talking to legislators, and we’ll carpool to the Capitol to talk to elected officials about the need for Safe Patient Standard and Workplace Violence Prevention legislation. We’ll return to the office around 1:00 pm and have lunch available. Please contact Geri Katz or Eileen Gavin for more information or to sign up.

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