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Video: Fairview Lakes Nurses Speak Out about Fairness

9 Jul FairviewLakesstill

 

Fairview Lakes nurses are standing up for a fair contract that ends inequities in pay between nurses in clinics and the hospital.

Monster Week for Nurse Contracts Across Minnesota

7 Jun

Nurses flex collective muscle with three ratifications, two tentative agreements within five days

Bemidji nurses

Solidarity during Bemidji nurses’ March “sick in” demonstration helped secure contract language to address dreadful sick time policies Sanford attempted to impose.

Celebratory emails were lighting up MNA inboxes for five straight days as announcement after announcement arrived of contract victories all over the state.
146 nurses at Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Austin, MN started the buzz with a contract ratification on Wed., May 28. 114 Mayo colleagues 40 miles away approved their agreement just one day later. On Monday, it was 287 nurses at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center in northwest Minnesota who ratified their contract.
The run continued on Tuesday, with two notices of tentative agreements. Negotiators for 1202 nurses at Hennepin County Medical Center and 128 nurses at Grand Itasca Hospital and Clinic in Grand Rapids, MN reached deals they could recommend to their bargaining units.
“What an awesome week,” remarked MNA Interim Executive Director Julia Stewart. “These are strong contracts and agreements, secured by strong, determined nurses who want the best for their patients.”
All of the ratifications include improvements to wages and benefits, while rejecting management proposals that would diminish nurses’ ability to provide the quality care their patients deserve.
In Austin, nurses achieved a new level of authority in which they will have a say in scheduling and staffing. MNA Co-Chair Shelby Bell knows the nurses will seize the opportunity to reduce the existing chaos on the units. Under current terms, nurses do not have control over what hours or what shift they work. In any one week, a nurse may work a day, evening and night shift. “Sometimes you don’t know if you are coming or going,” said Bell. “What does that do to patient safety?”
Austin and Albert Lea nurses also made significant gains in parity to the insurance and retirement packages of their Mayo colleagues, including the top-scale nurses in Rochester, where Mayo hopes to establish a self-described “destination medical center.” “I’m hopeful this new contract will address the patient safety concerns we’ve had and honor the limits to what nurses can do,” said Chair Kathy Lehman. “Nurses want the community to know we have their best interests at heart and want to exceed their expectations. This contract helps us do that.”
Sanford Bemidji corporate management proposed policies that drove nurses to a “sick in” on a cold day in March. Nurses successfully fought back in contract negotiations due in large part to the solidarity members demonstrated. The group also won a 25-year step increase as well as 6% wage increases over the life of the contract.
Details for the tentative agreements will be made public after nurses vote at HCMC on June 84-strike-logo10 and at Grand Itasca on June 12.
Stewart also noted MNA’s “Spring Surge” of collective activity was a fitting tribute the courage of nurse colleagues who took historic action 30 years ago on June 1, beginning the nation’s largest nursing strike at the time. The strike lasted 37 days and resulted in an important victory for seniority rights. It also spurred new, fiery energy among bargaining unit members around the power of collective action and their contract. “Nurses today know they stand on the foundation formed by colleagues who took action for their principles,” said Stewart. “These settlements continue to honor those principles – and those remarkable nurses.

MNA Legislative Wrap-up May 23, 2014

23 May Minnesota State Capitol St Paul Minnesota

MNA Legislative Wrap-Up Minnesota_State_Capitol

The 2014 session of the Minnesota Legislature was a success for nurses and working families. Minnesota’s growing economy produced a $1.2 billion budget surplus in 2014, allowing Governor Dayton and the legislature to deliver middle class tax relief and new investments in our schools and our economy.

Minnesotans have seen remarkable progress over the past two years following some of the most productive, efficient legislative sessions in recent memory. Much of that progress will affect patients, working families and nurses.

Health and Human Services Policy Omnibus Bill: Signed into Law

The Governor signed the package of health policy bills (HF2402) into law. Several MNA priorities were included in the bill.

 

  • Health Professionals Services Program (HPSP):

o   Requires health licensing boards to temporarily suspend a health professional license for 30 days and complete a disciplinary investigation during that time, if they receive a report from HPSP that the regulated person has engaged in conduct that might cause risk to the public and the board has probable cause to believe their continued practice presents an imminent risk of harm to the public.

o   Allows the 30 day temporary suspension to be lifted if the board does not complete their investigation by then, unless the regulated person requests a delay.

o   Requires all health licensing boards to stay in HPSPS until July 1, 2015.

o   Requires employers to report any knowledge of drug diversion by a regulated health professional to that persons licensing board unless the knowledge was obtained in the course of a professional-patient relationship or because of the person’s participation in HPSP.

o   MNA supported this legislation to protect patient safety and to protect the privacy and health of nurses with substance use disorder who are working to preserve their licenses and careers.

  • E-cigarettes:

o   Bans the sale of e-cigarettes from kiosks and vending machines.

o   Requires child-resistant packaging to prevent the dangerous ingestion of nicotine by children.

o   Bans the use of e-cigarettes in publicly-owned buildings.

o   Local communities can implement more restrictive regulations on e-cigarettes if they wish.

o   MNA supports restrictions on e-cigarettes since the long term health effects are unknown.

 

Public Employment Relations Board: Signed into Law  

On May 9th, the Governor signed into law a bill to establish a Public Employment Relations Board (HF3014). This legislation will create a board to decide Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) claims involving public employees, which includes many MNA nurses at public municipal or county hospitals (known in statute as Charitable Hospitals). Under current law, public employers and employees must litigate ULP claims in district court-a cumbersome and expensive process. MNA supported this bill because the PERB will create a process that saves employers and employees money and would mirror the ULP process in the private sector.

 

APRN Bill: Signed into Law

Governor Dayton signed into law a bill to allow Advance Practice Registered Nurses to practice to the full extent of their scope (SF511). The law gives full practice authority to Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists. Beginning January 1, 2015, APRNs will be able to practice independently. The new law limits, however, CRNA’s who will continue to require a collaborative management agreement with a physician to practice pain management.

 

This law represents years of work by advocates for APRNs, and MNA was proud to support this effort.

 

Steve’s Law: Signed into Law

Governor Dayton signed into law a bill to broaden the availability of Naloxone (Narcan) for first responders to use in cases of opiate overdose (SF1900). The bill received near unanimous support along every stage of the legislative process. Members of both parties spoke eloquently about the disease of addiction and the great promise this bill has to save lives and give individuals suffering with substance use disorders a second chance. MNA proudly supports this bill, and we applaud the chief authors, Rep. Dan Schoen and MNA member Sen. Chris Eaton, for their work on this common-sense, live-saving legislation.

 

Medical Cannabis: Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Carly Melin, the authors of different bills to legalize medical marijuana, announced they had come to an agreement based on the House version of the bill, but with some changes that broaden access, while tightening restrictions to prevent misuse.

 

This bill will be the strictest and most regulated medical cannabis law in the country. Only patients with qualifying conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and seizures will be eligible. It does not allow smoking of marijuana. Instead, patients can access approved forms of medical cannabis such as liquid, pill, or vapor. The bill creates a patient registry to monitor the use of prescription cannabis as well as to evaluate the health effects. Governor Dayton has said he will sign the bill next week.

 

MNA supports legislation that would provide compassionate relief to seriously ill patients.

 

Budget Issues: Signed into Law

The Governor signed the Omnibus Supplemental Budget bill into law. There are several portions of the bill that will directly affect MNA members. Highlights of Health and Human Services portion:

 

  • Fully funded 5% rate increase for Home and Community Based Services Providers of which 80% is encumbered to go to employees in the form of wages and benefits.
  • Increased funding for mental health crisis intervention services.
  • Funding of State Operated Services and Minnesota Sex Offender Program salary supplement. The Governor had requested $11 million each year for 2015, 2016, and 2017 for a total of $33 million to maintain current salary agreements with employees of SOS and MSOP. The conference committee funded everything fully, except for the $1 million for MSOP in 2016 and $1 million for MSOP in 2017.  They also fully funded the Governor’s recommendation for court ordered expert reviews at MSOP of $3 million in 2015.
  • $75,000 for a health care workforce study. MNA will work to ensure that nurses are included in this study.
  • The study on chronic pain therapy treatment included in the APRN bill was funded at $75,000 for 2015.

 

Construction Projects: Signed into Law
The Capital Investment Bonding bill to fund construction projects included several MNA priorities. Highlights include:

  • $56.3 million for design, construction and remodeling of the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.
  • $7.4 million for design and remodeling of the Minnesota Sex Offender facility in St. Peter.
  • $2 million in asset preservation for veterans homes and memorials.
  • $18 million for a new health services intake at St. Cloud correctional facility.

 

Minimum Wage: Signed into Law
For the first time in a decade, Minnesota’s minimum wage is set to increase. An estimated 325,000 hard-working Minnesotans will get a raise to $9.50 by 2016 (HF2091). The minimum wage will be indexed to inflation in 2018 to keep up with the cost of living. MNA supported this effort because poverty is a public health as well as an economic issue.

Synthetic Drugs: Signed into Law

The Governor signed a bill prohibiting the sale of synthetic drugsinto law. MNA members actively advocated for tougher prohibitions on synthetic drugs and were vocal supporters of the bill. We thank Representative Eric Simonson for considering MNA’s input as he worked to protect both the public and medical personnel affected by those under the influence of synthetic drugs.

Women’s Economic Security Act: Signed into Law

The Governor signed into law the Women’s Economic Security Act(WESA) on Mother’s Day. The WESA is the most significant women’s rights legislation in years.

 

The Women’s Economic Security Act:

  • Allows mothers to stay in the workforce by expanding family leave and providing reasonable accommodations for pregnant and nursing employees.
  • Decreases the gender pay gap through the participation of women in high-wage, high-demand occupations in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
  • Decreases the gender pay gap by reducing the “motherhood penalty” by requiring equal employment treatment regardless of “familial status.”
  • Addresses negative economic consequences of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.
  • Enhances retirement security by considering a state retirement savings plan for those without an employer-provided option.

 

MNA supported this legislation.

MNA Legislative Update, May 16, 2014

16 May Minnesota State Capitol St Paul Minnesota

The Minnesota Legislature is constitutionally mandated to finish their work by next Monday, so there has been a lot of activity this week as lawmakers rush to finish important bills. Many MNA priorities have been signed into law or made significant progress this week. Work will continue tonight and possibly over the weekend, so watch your email for a final update from MNA next week.

Public Employee Relations Board: Signed into Law  

On May 9 the Governor signed into law a bill to establish a Public Employee Relations Board (HF3014). This legislation will create a board to decide Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) claims involving public employees, which includes many MNA nurses at public municipal or county hospitals (known in statute as Charitable Hospitals). Under current law, public employees must litigate ULP claims in district court-a cumbersome and expensive process. MNA supported this bill because the PERB will create a process that saves employers and employees money and would mirror the ULP process in the private sector.


APRN Bill: Signed into Law

Earlier this week Governor Dayton signed into law a bill to allow Advance Practice Registered Nurses to practice to the full extent of their scope (SF511). The law gives full practice authority to Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists. Beginning January 1, 2015, APRNs will be able to practice independently. The new law limits, however, CRNA’s who will continue to require a collaborative management agreement with a physician to practice pain management.

This law represents years of work by advocates for APRNs, and MNA was proud to support this effort.


Steve’s Law: Signed into Law

Last week Governor Dayton signed into law a bill to broaden the availability of Naloxone (Narcan) for first responders to use in cases of opiate overdose (SF1900). The bill received near unanimous support along every stage of the legislative process, with members of both parties speaking eloquently about the disease of addiction and the great promise this bill has to save lives and give individuals suffering with substance use disorders a second chance. MNA proudly supports this bill, and we applaud the chief authors, Rep. Dan Schoen and MNA member Sen. Chris Eaton, for their work on this common-sense, live-saving legislation.


Women’s Economic Security Act: Signed into Law

The Governor signed into law the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) on Sunday, Mother’s Day. The WESA is the most significant women’s rights legislation in years.

The Women’s Economic Security Act:

  • allows mothers to stay in the workforce by expanding family leave and providing reasonable accommodations for pregnant and nursing employees
  • Decreases the gender pay gap through the participation of women in high-wage, high-demand occupations in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)
  • Decreases the gender pay gap by reducing the “motherhood penalty” by requiring equal employment treatment regardless of “familial status.”
  • Addresses negative economic consequences of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault
  • Enhances retirement security by considering a state retirement savings plan for those without an employer-provided option

MNA supported this legislation that will help address economic inequalities faced by women in the workforce.


Health and Human Services Policy Omnibus Bills: Awaiting Governor’s signature

On Thursday night, both the House and Senate passed the final package of health policy bills (HF2402) by wide bipartisan margins. Several MNA priorities were included in the bill.

  • E-cigarettes: the final bill bans the sale of e-cigarettes from kiosks and vending machines. It includes child-resistant packaging requirements to prevent the dangerous ingestion of nicotine by children. The bill bans the use of e-cigarettes in publicly-owned buildings. Unfortunately, use of e-cigarettes was not added to the Clean Air Act and treated like the use of traditional cigarettes. MNA supports restrictions on e-cigarettes since the long term health effects are unknown. Communities can implement more restrictive regulations on e-cigarettes if they wish.
  • Health Professionals Services Program (HPSP):

o   Requires health licensing boards to temporarily suspend a health professional license for 30 days and complete a disciplinary investigation within 30 days if they receive a report from HPSP that the regulated person has engaged in conduct that might cause risk to the public and the board has probable cause to believe their continued practice presents an imminent risk of harm to the public.

  • Allows the 30 day temporary suspension to be lifted if the board does not complete their investigation by then, unless the regulated person requests a delay.
  • Requires all health licensing boards to stay in HPSPS until July 1, 2015.
  • Requires employers to report any knowledge of drug diversion by a regulated health professional to that persons licensing board unless the knowledge was obtained in the course of a professional-patient relationship or because of the person’s participation in HPSP

Construction Projects: Awaiting Governor’s signature
The Capital Investment Bonding bill, including some MNA priorities, was passed by the House on Thursday night and the Senate on Friday morning. The bill now heads to the Governor. Highlights include:

  • $56.3 million for design, construction and remodeling of the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter
  • $7.4 million for design and remodeling of the Minnesota Sex Offender facility in St. Peter
  • $2 million in asset preservation for veterans homes and memorials
  • $18 million for a new health services intake at St. Cloud correctional facility

For a copy of the project spreadsheet, see the link below:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/224159831/DE-5-7-to-HF-1068-2490-bonding#fullscreen


Synthetic Drugs: Awaiting Governor’s signature

This week the House and Senate both passed the final version of the bill prohibiting the sale of synthetic drugs. It moves on to the Governor for his signature. MNA supports this bill.


Medical Marijuana

On Thursday Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Carly Melin, the authors of different bills to legalize medical marijuana, announced they had come to an agreement based on the House version of the bill, but with some changes that broaden access, while tightening restrictions to prevent misuse. Governor Dayton has said he will sign the bill into law.

This bill will be the strictest and most regulated medical cannabis law in the country. Only patients with qualifying conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and seizures will be eligible. (Intractable pain and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder were not included in the final agreement.) It does not allow smoking of marijuana. Instead, patients can access approved forms of medical cannabis such as liquid, pill or vapor. The bill creates a patient registry to monitor the use of prescription cannabis as well as to evaluate the health effects.

MNA supports legislation that would provide compassionate relief to seriously ill patients. While MNA had also supported the original Senate bill that would have allowed access to a broader number of patients, we believe this bill will bring relief to many Minnesotans. The agreement will need to be voted on by the full House and Senate before moving on to the Governor.

For more information: http://www.scribd.com/doc/224379865/Medical-Cannabis-Fact-Sheet


Supplemental Budget Bills

The Conference Committee charged with working out the differences between the House and Senate Supplemental Budget Omnibus bills met on Tuesday night to unveil the Health and Human Services funding portion of the bill.  There are several portions of the bill that will directly affect MNA members. Highlights of Health and Human Services portion of the Omnibus Budget Bill:

  • Fully funded 5% rate increase for Home and Community Based Services Providers, of which 80% is encumbered to go to employees in the form of wages and benefits.
  • Increased funding for mental health crisis intervention services
  • Funding of State Operated Services and Minnesota Sex Offender Program salary supplement. The Governor had requested $11 million each year for 2015, 2016 and 2017 for a total of $33 million to maintain current salary agreements with employees of SOS and MSOP. The conference committee funded everything fully, except for the $1 million for MSOP in 2016 and $1 million for MSOP in 2017.  They also fully funded the Governor’s recommendation for court ordered expert reviews at MSOP of $3 million in 2015.
  • $75,000 for a health care workforce study. MNA will work to ensure that nurses are included in this study.
  • The study on chronic pain therapy treatment included in the APRN bill was funded at $75,000 for 2015.

For a copy of the full HHS spreadsheet, click here:

NNU launches “Insist on an RN” campaign with radio ads

13 May @mx_860

@mx_860
Sweeping changes underway in the nation’s health care delivery system that expose hundreds of thousands of patients to severe risk of harm are the focus of a major new national campaign by the nation’s largest organization of nurses announced today.

An unchecked proliferation of unproven medical technology and sharp erosion of care standards are rapidly spreading through the health care system, far outside the media spotlight but frighteningly apparent to nurses and patients, says National Nurses United.

In response, NNU has launched a major campaign featuring radio ads from coast to coast, video, social media, legislation, rallies, and a call to the public to act, with a simple theme – “when it matters most, insist on a registered nurse.”  The ads were created by North Woods Advertising and produced by Fortaleza Films/Los Angeles.

To watch the new videos and hear the radio ads visit www.insistonanRN.org

Or click below:

.

Key features of the new threat to patient safety include:

Digitalized care – experimental, unproven medical technology put patients at risk

Hospitals and other healthcare industry giants are spending billions of dollars on medical technology sold to the public as the cure for everything from medical errors to cutting costs. But the reality is proving to be far different, warns NNU.

Bedside computers that diagnose and dictate treatment for patients, based on generic population trends not the health status or care needs of that individual patient, increasingly supplant the professional assessment and judgment of experienced nurses and doctors exposing patients to misdiagnosis, mistreatment, and life-threatening mistakes.

Computerized electronic health records systems too often fail, leaving doctors and nurses in the dark without access to medical histories or medical orders. The Office of the Inspector General for the Health and Human Services Department has reported widespread flaws in the heavily promoted systems. Telemedicine and robotics marketed as improved care deprive patients of individualized care so essential to the therapeutic process central to healing.

The face of future health care – a world without hospital care

Cutting costs is now seen as the prime directive in health care. Unwilling to reduce their profits or limit excessive pricing practices, the means to limiting expenses in the healthcare industry is by restricting or rationing care.

Insurance companies do that by denying claims or setting out-of-pocket costs so high Americans lead the developed world in skipping care when they need it because of the price. Hospitals, especially those that are also insurance companies, like Kaiser Permanente, or linking up with insurers through the new Accountable Care Organizations, restrict care by cutting patient services, limiting hospital admissions, or discharging still very ill patients to clinics, nursing facilities, or home, all settings that have fewer staff and regulations. Hospitals overall, have profit margins of 35 percent for elective outpatient services, compared to just 2 percent for inpatient care.

Nurses every day see patients denied admission who need hospital care, held on hallway gurneys in emergency departments, or parked in “observation” units. Observation is the latest fad in large part because Medicare reimbursement penalties for patients re-admitted within 30 days for the same illness do not apply if the patient was discharged from an observation unit.

The ascendance of profits while reducing access to professional nursing care

Hospital industry profits are at a record high – some $64.4 billion in 2012, according to American Hospital Association data.  Kaiser Permanente, which is the model for many of the industry trends, just reported first-quarter profits of $1.1 billion, up nearly 44 percent from a year ago.

Yet, as one of the new NNU radio ads notes, many of those hospitals are spending their profits and patients’ health care dollars “on everything but quality patient care” – on technology, Wall Street investments, buying up other hospitals, while cutting the staff of bedside registered nurses, “the health professionals most critical to your care and safety.”

Inadequate, unsafe staffing is proliferating through the nation’s hospitals, even as hospitals shift care to other settings leaving the patients able to get in, and stay in hospitals, facing often perilous care standards. Just one example of many, in a report released May 12,  Washington, DC nurses cited 215 incidents of severe understaffing, including life-threatening events, in District hospitals the past 15 months. RNs in DC and several states are pursuing safe staffing legislation.

‘Behind every statistic a patient exposed to unnecessary suffering’

“The American health care system already lags behind other industrialized nations in a wide array of essential health barometers from infant mortality to life expectancy. These changing trends in health care threaten to make it worse,” said NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN. “Behind every statistic is a patient, and their family, who are exposed to unnecessary suffering and risk as a result of the focus on profits rather than what is best for individual patient need.”

“What we are advising every patient, every American to do is stand up and be heard,” said Ross. “When it matters most, insist on a registered nurse.”

Minnesota Honors Its Nurses

7 May

 

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On May 6, 2014, elected officials in Minnesota kicked off Nurses Week (May 6 – 12) with proclamations and public statements celebrating Minnesota’s nurses.  In the coming days, throughout the state, nurses will continue to demonstrate how Nurses Care by sharing their stories, using their contract to advocate for their patients, conducting food and clothing drives and feeding those in need.

Statement made in the Minnesota Senate.

Senator Chris Eaton, RN

The State of Minnesota places the highest priority on quality health care for all of our citizens and counts 116,685 dedicated and professional licensed nurses in the state.  Nurses continue to meet the different and emerging health care needs of Minnesotans in a wide range of settings, including large medical centers, local hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, veterans homes, and community facilities.

Nurses continue to provide the cost-effective and high quality health care services that will be an even more important component of Minnesota’s health care delivery system.  We know that in the future professional nursing will continue to be an indispensable component in the safety and quality of care of hospitalized patients.

More qualified registered nurses will be needed in the future to meet the renewed emphasis on primary and preventive health care and increasingly complex needs of health care consumers in Minnesota.  The Minnesota Nurses Association has declared the week of May 6-12 as NURSES WEEK to coincide with the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale with the theme NURSES CARE to celebrate the many ways in which registered nurses strive to provide safe and high quality patient care and continue to serve to be an advocate for patients.

We honor nurses in Minnesota today. Some of them from the Minnesota Nurses Association are here with us in the gallery.   Some of our colleagues in the chamber are also proud to be licensed nurses in the state of Minnesota.   We salute you and all the ways you care for us, our families, and all patients in Minnesota.  Statements made in the Minnesota House of Representatives, honoring nurses and the profession of nursing.

House Majority Leader, Rep Erin Murphy, RN

I rise today to recognize the annual celebration of Nurses Week. We honor the contributions made by 116,685 nurses licensed in our state today, and the legacy of those remarkable professionals who have gone before them.  Nurses Week begins today and ends on May 12 – the birthday of modern nursing’s pioneer, Florence Nightingale.  Nurses Care.  Not only for individuals, but for whole communities as well, and I am proud to stand today in support and solidarity with my fellow nurses – the most trusted professionals in America, according to the Gallup Honest and Ethic poll for 14 of the last 15 years running.

Nurses care holistically.  Nurses assess and treat mind, body and spirit with a delicate balance of clinical skills and heartfelt compassion.  Nurses care with dedication, courage and hard work.  Nurses care under some of the most stress-filled circumstances one can imagine.  Nurses care for the most vulnerable among us, when no one is looking. But Nurses Week is the opportunity to shine a light on this noble profession.  With that in mind, I yield to my colleagues (who wish to go on record).

Rep. Patti Fritz:

We take a week to recognize nurses because so often the act of caring is done in the quiet shadows beyond the bright lights of the operating theater.  So often, the art of caring is taken for granted.  So often the skill of caring takes a back seat to the thrill of technology.   This Nurses Week, let us pause and reflect on the good work nurses do. Let us celebrate the impact they’ve had on our own lives and the lives of our loved ones.  Let us bear witness to the influence nurses have on the health of every Minnesotan.  Let us say “thank you” for careers that have touched countless lives.

Rep. Karen Clark

Nurses care for us when we take in our first breath and exhale our last. They care for us in myriad settings, including destination medical centers, local hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, Veterans Homes community facilities and even in our homes. Now and in the future, nursing will continue to be an indispensable component in the safety and quality of care Minnesotans receive.

Nurses are at the forefront of innovation for the delivery of care where ever it needs to be delivered.  Yet amidst the rapid and transformative changes occurring in health care, we can be assured nurses will always carry the ethical torch of advocacy to ease our worries and guide us toward healing.

Rep. Jerry Hertaus:

In Minnesota, we take pride in our high quality health care.  So too, let us honor this proud profession with its rigorous training and education. As the largest segment of care providers in the health care field, nurses are poised to be change agents, whose ideas and creativity will continue to improve patient outcomes.  With high touch and high tech, nurses are the real deal and the ideal asset for our emerging needs.

Rep. Erin Murphy:

We stand today to honor nurses in Minnesota. Some nurses are here in the Capitol with us today, and we salute you and all the ways you care for us, our families, our communities and everyone in Minnesota. Nurses Care.  And we care for Nurses.  Thank you.

 

MNA Legislative Update May 2, 2014

2 May Minnesota State Capitol St Paul Minnesota

Minnesota State Capitol St Paul Minnesota

MNA Legislative Update May 2, 2014

 

Public Employee Relations Board

A bill to establish a Public Employee Relations Board (HF3014) was passed by the full Senate on Monday. This legislation would create a board to decide Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) claims involving public employees, which includes many MNA nurses at public municipal or county hospitals (known in statute as Charitable Hospitals). Under current law public employees must litigate ULP claims in district court-a cumbersome and expensive process. The PERB bill would create a process that saves employers and employees money and would mirror the ULP process in the private sector.

 

Many nurses contacted their senators last week asking them to oppose attempts to remove Charitable Hospitals from the bill, and we are pleased to report that an amendment to exempt those facilities failed. Another amendment to delay implementation of the PERB for Charitable Hospitals for one year also failed.

 

The companion bill was already passed by the House, and, next week, we anticipate the House will vote to concur with the Senate version of the bill, which would then go on to the Governor for his signature.

 

APRN Bill

Sen. Kathy Sheran’s bill (SF511) to allow Advance Practice Registered Nurses to practice to the full extent of their scope was heard on the Senate floor. Her bill would give full practice authority to Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists. The bill allows APRNs to practice independently, but does limit CRNA’s who will continue to require a collaborative management agreement with a physician to practice pain management.

 

The bill passed unanimously, and we anticipate the House will vote to concur with the Senate language, which MNA supports over the House language.

 

Medical Marijuana

The bill to legalize medical marijuana prescribed by a physician for certain serious medical conditions (SF1641) passed the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday then passed Judiciary without recommendation on Wednesday. The Senate Health and Human Services Finance Division amended the bill today to prohibit smoking medical marijuana, but would still allow “vaping,” the inhaling of fumes through a charged liquid vaporizer.

 

On Thursday, Representative Carly Melin and House leadership announced a new medical marijuana proposal (SF2470) that would pave the way for clinical trials for patients with qualifying conditions such as seizures, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma. Because the bill prohibits smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes, law enforcement is neutral; they have opposed other bills that allow smoking as well as other methods of using medicinal marijuana.

 

Today the House Rules Committee is hearing the compromise bill introduced by Rep. Melin. As of this writing they have not yet concluded their hearing.

 

MNA supports legislation that would provide compassionate relief to seriously ill patients.

 

Health and Human Services Policy Omnibus Bills

The Senate and House omnibus Health and Human Services Policy bills have been taken up by a conference committee to work out differences between the two. The bills both include language that MNA supports related to the Health Professionals Services Program and health professionals with substance use disorders.

Supplemental Budget Bills

The House and Senate are also working out the differences between their supplemental budget bills in a conference committee. In his supplemental budget recommendation, Governor Dayton included $11 million this year and $22 million in the next biennium to cover the cost of negotiated salary increases for staff working in 24-hour care facilities within State Operated Services and the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, which includes many MNA members. While neither the House nor the Senate has included this funding in their respective omnibus bills, we have spoken to conference committee members and about the serious consequences of not funding the State Operated Services salary supplement. We will continue to monitor the negotiations.

 

Nurses Week May 6-12

MNA nurses will be going to the Capitol the morning of Tuesday, May 6 for the kickoff to Nurses’ Week. We’ll meet at the MNA office at 9:00 am to carpool over to the Capitol. We anticipate the House and Senate will go into session around 10:00 or 11:00 am. As legislators enter the chambers, we will give out stickers saying “Nurses Care” then listen to speeches honoring nurses from the Galleries. Please email geri.katz@mnnurses.org if you can come on Tuesday morning.

 

MNA Government Affairs Commissioners and staff with State Representative

Joe Atkins at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Thief River Falls “RN Run” Raises Funds and Fun

25 Apr

RN-RunThief River Falls nurses beat Boston off the starting line of the running season this year, and may have Beantown trying hard to catch up.

MNA members of the Sanford – Thief River Falls Medical Center bargaining unit are celebrating the success of their inaugural 5k RN Run on Saturday, April 19 to raise funds for the community’s D.A.R.E. program.

Nearly 60 runners participated in the event and nurses were able to deliver $836 to the organization dedicated to drug abuse resistance education.

MNA Co-Chair Tiffany Eidelbes credited nurse organizers Kayla Knutson and Karey Johnson with imagining and executing an idea that brought a sizable crowd out for the festivities. “They did an excellent job,” said Eidelbes. “We heard several runners say it was a perfect kick start for upcoming longer runs – and it was fun!” Runners grinned to see the Easter Bunny as race starter.

Community engagement in the event is especially meaningful for the nurses as they head into contract talks with hospital management. “People asked good questions about how the union contract helps us protect our patients,” said bargaining unit Vice Chair, Amber Hawkins. She believes it was an opportunity to provide good insight and background that will result in support down the road. “The event helped set a good tone,” added Hawkins.

The nurse group all agrees they definitely hope to repeat the event.

The 83 members of the MNA bargaining unit will begin talks with hospital management on May 14. The contract expires on July 31.

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Signs of Support for IFalls Nurses Line the Streets

16 Apr Paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters supports MNA nurses!

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Imagine everyone in your town wanting to let you know you are awesome. MNA nurses in International Falls don’t have to dream.

Eight months into negotiating a contract with management at Rainy Lake Medical Center (RLMC), the 27-member bargaining unit is literally seeing signs of support throughout this picturesque city that shares a border with Canada.

Over 100 signs, sporting the message “We Support Our Nurses” are being posted in shop windows; hoisted high by firefighters, paramedics and EMTs; cradled by senior apartment residents; and displayed on bulletin boards throughout the city’s commercial districts. It’s a message warmly given from the town often referred to as “America’s Icebox.”  In addition, members of several other unions in the area have signed petitions of solidarity for the nurses.

RLMC management has yet to receive the message.  Contract talks on Tuesday ended after the union and hospital could not come to agreement settling outstanding proposals in negotiations.

A key issue is hospital management’s attempt to force a “management rights” clause into the next three-year contract.  Nurses fear the provision could lead to administrative personnel perceiving they have power to make arbitrary decisions that impact nursing practice and patient safety.

A petition, signed by 100 percent of the nurses and delivered to management in February characterized, the tactic as a “serious overreach of authority.”

“When it comes to the care we are able to give and how we can advocate for our patients, this proposal ties our hands,” said MNA negotiating team member Diane Olek.  She is especially concerned about the fast-changing dynamics of health care.“  This is a contract we will have to live with and health care is changing so quickly,” said Olek.  She worries that non-providers believing they can arbitrarily make unilateral decisions about nurse staffing without negotiating them will compromise the safety of patients in the hospital. “Why lock ourselves into this?”

Lisa Hay, an active union member, considers it an unacceptable concession of rights and professional nursing judgment. At a recent all-RN meeting, Hay warned her colleagues “When I looked at the management rights clause I said ‘what you take away from us, you take away from patients’.”

Those values run through the whole nurse group.  “I feel 100 percent support at the table,” said MNA Co-Chair Wendy Sutch.  “All of our nurses feel very strongly they want to have a voice in patient care.” She describes her colleagues as a tight-knit group and especially sees a deep river of resolve in the younger nurses.  “They’re aware of what their future could be based on this contract. Everyone’s on board.”

That solidarity and community support will be on full display for RLMC management to view on Tues., May 6 when MNA nurses intend to conduct an informational picket in front of the hospital from noon – 2:00 p.m.

MNA Legislative Update April 5, 2014

5 Apr Minnesota State Capitol St Paul Minnesota

MNA Legislative Update April 5, 2014Minnesota State Capitol St Paul Minnesota

Minimum Wage

Legislative leaders are still in discussions about raising the minimum wage (HF92). Both the House and Senate agree on raising the wage to $9.50, but only the House currently supports including an annual inflationary increase in the legislation, called indexing, that allows minimum wage workers to keep up with the rising costs of food, housing, and transportation. Last week the Senate introduced a bill that would have asked the voters to decide on the minimum wage and inflationary increases, but this week the author, Sen. Ann Rest, withdrew the bill. MNA supports an increased minimum wage with an automatic inflationary increase so low wage workers can catch up and keep up.

Please use the MNA Grassroots Action Center to contact your Senator and ask him or her to support an increased and indexed minimum wage.

Synthetic Drugs

Rep. Erik Simonson’s bill to outlaw synthetic drugs (HF2446) has passed through many committees already and passed the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday and will move on to a floor vote. Senate companion (SF2028) is waiting for a hearing in Finance Committee, which is probably the last committee stop before a floor vote. MNA supports this bill as an important step in reducing the impact of synthetic drugs on our communities.

Public Employee Relations Board

A bill to establish a Public Employee Relations Board (HF3014)is moving as legislators on the House Ways and Means Committee passed it on Tuesday. The Senate Finance Committee will hear it next week. The House Ways and Means Committee amended the bill to include employees of charitable hospitals, including many MNA nurses. This legislation creates a board where public employees could bring unfair labor practice complaints, rather than bringing them to district court, which would mirror the private sector process. Since the district court process is cumbersome and expensive, this new board would save employers and employees significant amounts of money.

Women’s Economic Security Act

Legislation to address discrimination and economic inequality that women face (HF2536) was passed by the House Ways and Means committee on Wednesday and is on the way to the House for a floor vote. In the Senate, we are still waiting for a floor vote to be scheduled. MNA supports this legislation because women make up half the state’s workforce and providing them with equal opportunities and pay is critical to our state’s economic future.  Anti-Bullying Bill

The full Minnesota Senate voted on the Safe and Supportive Schools bill (HF826) on Thursday. After six hours of debate and many amendments from opponents, the bill passed. It now goes back to the House for a final vote, which could happen early next week.

Minnesota currently has the weakest anti-bullying law in the country. MNA supports the bill, which will provide schools with the tools to prevent and intervene in cases of bullying so that all of our students feel safe and supported when they come to school.

State Employee Salary Supplement

The Governor recommended an increase in compensation funding for the Department of Human Service’s Direct Care and Treatment State Operated Services programs and the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. The programs are experiencing compensation pressures of negotiated salary increases and increased costs of employer-paid benefits for current employees. This increase would allow the programs to meet these increasing personnel costs and continue to deliver care to their clients.

This increase was not included in the House and Senate’s Health and Human Services omnibus bills. We’re monitoring negotiations about these and continuing to talk to legislators about the need for this funding, and we think there is still a chance for the funding to be included in the final package.

5% Campaign

Funding to give an increase to long term care workers who do not work in nursing homes was included in both the House and Senate Health and Human Services omnibus bills. The bills include language that would mandate the majority of the funds go directly to workers. We expect this will be a part of the final Health and Human Services finance package.

Nurse Licensure and Discipline

The bills proposing changes to the Health Professionals Services Program (HPSP) and how the Board of Nursing handles nurses with substance use disorders and drug diversion are moving through the legislative process (HF1898 and HF1604) . Our priorities remain reflected in the bills – protecting patient safety, treating substance use disorder as a disease, encouraging nurses with substance use disorders to seek rehabilitation treatment, and protecting nurses’ private medical and legal information.

Community EMT

MNA was very concerned about legislation that would create a Community Emergency Medical Technician position that would be reimbursed under Medical Assistance (HF3288/SF2862). The role of the Community EMT would be to provide interventions intended to prevent avoidable ambulance transportation or emergency department use. This could include the performance of minor medical procedures, initial assessments within the Community EMT Scope of Practice, care coordination, diagnosis related to patient education and chronic disease management monitoring. While we recognize that there are gaps in our medical system, MNA opposed this legislation because Community EMTs would not be fully trained in nursing care, therefore not suitable to provide this type of care to the community. This new role could encourage a decrease in public health nursing, an area that is already facing a shortage. We raised these concerns with legislators, and the bill does not appear to be moving this session.

 

 

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