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Are you ready to administer marijuana?

29 May State Capitol

Mat Keller headshot

By Mathew Keller RN JD, Regulatory and Policy Nursing Specialist

With Minnesota’s medical cannabis law set to take effect on July 1, Minnesota nurses will likely be asked to administer medical marijuana in the hospital setting.  But are you ready to do so?  Here’s what you need to know about the new law.

  • Patients will not receive a medical marijuana “prescription” from a physician or APRN. Instead, a patient’s provider will certify that the patient has a medical condition that qualifies for medical cannabis use.  The patient will then need to register with the Minnesota Department of Health in order to be eligible to utilize the medication.
  • Patients will not be able to pick up medical cannabis from the local pharmacy. There are eight locations in the state that are licensed to dispense medical marijuana.
  • Patients will not be able to smoke their medical cannabis.  Raw leaf, flowers, and edibles are not allowed under the Minnesota law: only pills, oils, and liquids are allowed.
  • Your facility may ask you to administer medical cannabis. Each facility will surely have its own policy and procedure on patients who are admitted and bring their own medical cannabis.  It is possible that your facility may ask the patient to turn the medications over to the hospital pharmacy, which would then ask you to administer the medical cannabis.
  • You and  your facility are protected under state law while administering or providing care to someone who is taking medical cannabis.  Minnesota recently passed an amendment to the medical cannabis law.  Per the MN Department of Health:

    The amendment extends protections and immunities to employees of health care facilities to possess medical cannabis while carrying out their employment duties. These protections include providing care or distributing medical cannabis to a patient on the Minnesota medical cannabis patient registry who is actively receiving treatment or care at the facility. The amendment also allows health care facilities to reasonably restrict the use of medical cannabis by patients. For example, the facility may choose not [to] store or maintain a patient’s supply of medical cannabis or that use of medical cannabis may be limited to a specific location.

  • Federal law still prohibits the distribution and use of medical cannabis. Under federal law, medical cannabis remains a Schedule I drug.  Given state law protections, however, the potential liability and level of concern for individual nurses who are asked to administer medical cannabis per hospital policy should be low.

 

1 May

Legislative Update May 1, 2015

House HHS Omnibus Bill
Tuesday night, the House passed its Health and Human Services omnibus bill (HF 1638). The bill includes many of MNA’s issues in various forms:

MinnesotaCare is dropped all together. This is the insurance program for about 90,000 Minnesotans who make too much money for Medicaid but not enough to buy insurance through an exchange (approximately 134-200% of the Federal Poverty Level or about $40,000 for a family of four). Another bill, HF 848, includes tax credits for those dropped from MinnesotaCare to get coverage through the private market or MNsure.  Unfortunately, the proposed credits aren’t nearly enough to provide an equal level of care.  As a result, MinnesotaCare recipients could face high deductibles and co-pays, which could cause them to forego even routine care or just go broke trying to pay for care when they really need it.

CEMT is in the House version, which contains some but not all the language MNA fought for that would prevent Community Emergency Medical Technicians from practicing nursing skills. This bill allows CEMTs to check on and help newly discharged patients.  Because there is a provision in the bill that requires a workgroup to make recommendations to the Legislature on what services will be eligible for reimbursement, MNA will continue to advocate in that workgroup that these services not infringe on the nursing scope of practice.

Temporary license suspension is also in the House HHS Omnibus bill.  This language raises the level of threat a nurse or healthcare worker must pose to patients before that license holder can be suspended without a hearing.

Senate HHS Omnibus bill
Last week, the Senate passed its all-encompassing HHS bill, which includes these MNA issues:

Workplace Violence Prevention Bill
The bill, which would require all Minnesota hospitals to have a workplace violence prevention plan and provide training to workers on an annual basis. Despite a push from nurses and legislators, the data on incidents will only be accessible to collective bargaining representatives and law enforcement.

Healthcare Task Force
This bill echoes the Governor’s proposal to create a task force that will look at other ways to pay for healthcare in Minnesota. This analysis will look at many options.  We hope it will include a study on the savings that could be brought by a Single Payer system. MNA will work to ensure this proposal is in the final budget and to see that nurses are well represented on the task force.

MinnesotaCare
The program continues to operate in this version of the bill, but will face intense pressure and scrutiny as the conference committee decides its fate

Biennial Budget
Two and a half weeks to go in this Legislative Session, and the time to create a budget is growing short. The GOP-led House passed its tax bill Wednesday with a vote along straight party lines. The GOP budget cuts taxes for big business, including eliminating the corporate property tax all together. Those cuts are being marketed as a middle tax class cut, even though a single, $75,000 a year filer would only get $70 back.

To pay for this, the GOP budget underfunds education, and Greater Minnesota doesn’t get broadband, schools, or train safety. In addition, various services offered through HHS would be cut by $1.1 billion.  At a time when we have a $2 billion surplus that could help to move Minnesota forward, their proposed shifts and gimmicks could return us to the deficit days that forced Minnesota to borrow from schools again and again. Stay tuned on the response from the DFL-led Senate and the Governor’s office. It appears this budget won’t be settled until the final hours on May 17.

MNA nurses joined TakeAction Minnesota and many other groups to oppose the elimination of MinnesotaCare in the House HHS budget at a press conference on Tuesday. MNA Executive Director Rose Roach explained the impact of the cuts on Minnesota’s patients.

See clips from the conference hereScreen Shot 2015-04-30 at 12.24.42 PM

Rape Kit Inventory
Law enforcement agencies are sitting on hundreds of untested rape kits that could be used to bring suspects to justice. The bill that would look into the status of untested rape kits passed the Senate floor by a unanimous vote.  The bill also passed the House on Tuesday with the same language in the Public Safety Committee’s omnibus bill. There are concerns that some gun-related issues are riding on the omnibus bill, which could tie up this bill as well. The Governor will have trouble signing it with those riders. If that happens, there will be a push to hear the Rape Kit Inventory as a stand-alone bill.

Voter Pre-Registration
The bill that would allow 16-year-old to register to vote before they turn 18 has made it into the Senate Elections omnibus bill but not the House version.
 

Sen Hoffman
Wednesdays at the Capitol

This week, nurses from Children’s Hospitals in St. Paul and Minneapolis teamed up to talk to legislators, and they got a great response from their state representatives and senators. Every Wednesday, we bring small groups of nurses to the Capitol to meet with legislators about our priority bills. All MNA members are welcome.

Nurses in attendance will meet at the MNA office in the morning for a briefing and quick training on how to talk to legislators.  They then carpool to the Capitol to talk to elected officials about the need for Safe Patient Standard and Workplace Violence Prevention legislation. At around 1 p.m., the group returns to the MNA office for lunch and a debrief of the day.  Please contact Geri Katz geri.katz@mnnurses.org or Eileen Gavin eileen.gavin@mnnurses.org for more information or to sign up.

Legislative Update April 24, 2015

24 Apr
Legislative Update April 24, 2015

 

Biennenial Budget

With less than a month to go in the 2015 Legislative Session, there’s little consensus on the next state budget, and healthcare is the biggest argument. Even though the state has a $1.9 billion surplus, the GOP’s proposed budget provides for $2 billion in tax cuts and cuts $1 billion from Health and Human Services.  House Republicans want to slash healthcare so they can give cuts to big business, including eliminating the corporate property tax altogether.

Rep. Matt Dean’s (R-Dellwood) proposal is to drop MinnesotaCare entirely.  MinnesotaCare is the insurance program for about 90,000 Minnesotans who make too much money for Medicaid but not enough to buy insurance through an exchange.  They make 134-200% of the Federal Poverty Level or about $40,000 for a family of four.  While some insist that MinnesotaCare recipients would be compensated by the state for enrolling in a MNsure plan, it’s not that simple.  A comparable MNsure plan would cost more and have as high as a $6,000 deductible.

What will surely happen is families won’t be able to pay for better care, will delay needed care, or go broke when they do have to see a healthcare provider.  As a result, nurses will continue to see patients who are sicker, who should’ve come for care sooner, and who can’t afford things they need to get better, including medications.

MNA nurses are joining Take Action Minnesota and many other groups to oppose the cuts.  It’s anticipated that the HHS Finance bill will be on the House Floor on Wednesday or Thursday of next week.  The coalition of groups opposing these cuts is working to turn out people for the hearing.  Stay tuned for specifics of where and when.  In the meantime, can you send an email to your legislators TODAY, asking them to save MinnesotaCare? 

Workplace Violence Prevention Bill

The workplace violence prevention bill championed by Minnesota nurses has had another victory in the Minnesota Senate.  The bill, which would require all Minnesota hospitals to have a workplace violence prevention plan and provide training to workers on an annual basis, was included in the HHS Finance Omnibus bill last Friday night.  Despite a push from nurses and legislators to include a provision requiring hospitals to report data on violent incidents to the Department of Health and make it accessible to the public, hospitals pushed back, saying that they did not want the public to have access to data on the number of violent incidents that occur at their facilities.  Instead, the data will only be accessible to collective bargaining representatives and law enforcement.  Unfortunately for nurses, this means that the Department of Health will not be able to play a role in monitoring and analyzing incidents of workplace violence or working with hospitals to improve gaps they may have in their violence prevention plans.

The HHS bill moved on to the full Finance Committee on Wednesday night, where it also passed and will be heard on the Senate floor today. While the bill has found success in the Senate, the House did not even hold a hearing on the bill or include it in their omnibus bill.  Because of that, pressure is still needed to ask House members to agree to include the language in the final HHS Omnibus bill that will come out of conference committee.

CEMT

The bill to establish a Community Emergency Medical Technician was also included in the Senate Health and Human Services Omnibus bill.  MNA nurses and other stakeholders still have concerns that the bill could allow CEMTs to practice nursing in a non-emergent setting.   Because there is a provision in the bill that requires a workgroup to make recommendations to the Legislature on what services will be eligible for reimbursement, MNA will continue to advocate within the workgroup that these services not infringe on the nursing scope of practice.

The House has also included the CEMT bill in its HHS omnibus finance bill.  Slight differences in the language means that MNA will also continue to advocate for the Senate position, which removes the ability for CEMTs to do Care Coordination and diagnosis-specific patient education.

It is expected that the bill will pass in some form in the final HHS Omnibus budget bill and the workgroup will begin to meet this summer.

Wednesdays at the Capitol

Every Wednesday, we bring small groups of nurses to the Capitol to meet with legislators about our priority bills. Our next visit is April 29 for Children’s St. Paul and Minneapolis. All MNA members are welcome.  Your bargaining unit can claim your own Day on the Hill too.

We’ll meet at the MNA office in the morning for a briefing and quick training on how to talk to legislators.  We will 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 p.m. and have lunch. Please contact Geri Katz geri.katz@mnnurses.org or Eileen Gavin eileen.gavin@mnnurses.org for more information or to sign up.

Video

Video: MNA Nurses Deliver Valentines to MN Dept of Health

25 Feb 4

100 nurses delivered more than 2,000 Concern for Safe Staffing Forms to Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger. They lined up to tell their stories of unsafe staffing situations and the effects it has on patients.

4

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Video: 2015 MNA Nurses Day on the Hill

18 Feb rep1

150 MNA member nurses came to the Capitol in St. Paul to tell lawmakers they want a Safe Patient Standard and that nurses and patients are not safe in the workplace.

Video

Video: MNA Nurses Support Effort to End Workplace Violence

12 Feb Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 10.08.20 AM

Nurses from St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood describe horrific night when a patient suddenly attacked them. MNA nurses are fighting for workplace safety for all healthcare workers in all facilities.

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Video: MNA Nurses Informational Picket at Cambridge Medical Center

25 Nov cambridge picket 2

Nurses braved the cold to inform the public they are fighting for a fair contract that protects patients and nurses alike.

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Video: Help Nurses Elect Candidates Who Help Nurses

16 Sep IMG_0298

 

 

Join other dedicated members of the Minnesota Nurses Association who are supporting MNA endorsed candidates.  Go to http://www.mnnurses.org/policy-and-advocacy/election-2014-volunteer-opportunities
OR call Eileen Gavin at 651-414-2871.

 

Primary Election August 12-MNA Supports Rebecca Otto for Auditor

6 Aug

Minnesota’s primary election is Tuesday, August 12. You have a chance to return one of the most accomplished state auditors in the country to her post.

Rebecca Otto

MNA endorses Rebecca Otto for State Auditor

MNA has endorsed Rebecca Otto for State Auditor. Otto has carefully served as a watchdog for local governments, including her role in reviewing almost 700 public pension plans, and promoting legal compliance and accountability.

Rebecca Otto (DFL) is one of the most highly-respected state auditors in the United States. In 2014 she was named one of the Most Influential Professionals in Government Auditing by the American Center for Government Auditing (ACGA). She has also received the National Auditors Association Excellence in Accountability Award for Best Practices Review: Reducing Energy Costs in Local Government. In 2011 she received the League of Minnesota Cities President’s Award.

Rebecca Otto has done an outstanding job for the citizens of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Nurses Association is proud to support her.

Find your polling place.

Not registered? You can register at the polls!

Video

Sign up for the Minnesota State Fair!

5 Aug fair5

Join MNA nurses by speaking up for your profession and a minimum standard of care at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair.  Go to www.mnnurses.org to sign up.  Volunteer shifts are filling up fast!

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