Tag Archives: Hospitals

Legislative Update May 8, 2015

8 May



Legislative Update May 8, 2015

Biennial Budget

Ten days to go in this Legislative Session, but lawmakers aren’t much closer on a budget deal than last week. Despite the $1.9 billion surplus, the GOP-led House still wants a tax bill with big cuts for state programs for Minnesota citizens. Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said he’s still pushing for $1.1 billion in Health and Human Services cuts.  Big businesses would see their taxes lowered under the GOP plan and even enjoy an end to property taxes.

Working families will have to pay more if the final budget slashes $563 million, as proposed, with the elimination of MinnesotaCare.  Other savings come from shifts and gimmicks. The GOP budget would delay managed care payments by a month to save $135 million and save a claimed $300 million by eliminating ineligible enrollees and working to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse from public programs. The nonpartisan budget staff reported that this figure is not accurate and even in the best case would save only $16 million by catching fraud.  Meanwhile, the DFL-led Senate is holding to its $341 million increase for Health and Human Services, and the Governor still hopes to increase funds for schools to include all-day pre-school statewide.

The Conference Committee began meeting on Tuesday and continued throughout the week with little progress.  Legislators won’t take much action until their leadership gives them more direction on how much money they need to spend or cut. These new budget targets could come Monday. Legislative leaders, Governor Dayton, Majority Leader Tom Bakk, and Speaker Kurt Daudt plan on fishing together for Walleye Fishing Opener on Saturday. Let’s hope they can “net” a compromise that delivers quality healthcare for all Minnesotans.


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 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or about $40,000 for a family of four). GOP lawmakers have placed it on the chopping block because the funding mechanism, the Provider Tax, is set to go away in 2018.  The Legislature, however, has the ability to extend those funds to protect Minnesota’s working class. If they don’t, these recipients will end up transferred to MNsure or another exchange where they’ll have to pay 200-300 percent more for coverage that could pay only 70 percent of their medical costs. As a result, many people who have jobs will end up skipping needed preventive care.  Nurses know patients are coming to hospitals sicker and sicker because the costs of healthcare create barriers to being healthy.
Please let your legislators know nurses care for their patients, and MinnesotaCare allows 90,000 working class families to receive quality care.

Send a letter to legislators through this link.


Nurses Week

Governor Mark Dayton issued a formal proclamation making May 6-12, 2015 Nurses Week in Minnesota.  Legislators in the Minnesota House and Senate issued proclamations in their respective bodies to honor nurses.  Lawmakers also took a moment to stand and applaud nurses visiting the Capitol to honor the vital jobs they perform every day.  Senator John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin) also brought nurses onto the floor after session.

Wednesdays at the Capitol

This week, nurses from MNA’s Governmental Affairs Commission took a trip to the Capitol to talk with legislators. Much like previous weeks, the nurses were well received by their senators and representatives as they shared personal stories about incidents of workplace violence, unsafe staffing and hardships they see facing their patients.  Every Wednesday, small groups of nurses visit the Capitol to meet with legislators about our priority bills. All MNA members are welcome and encouraged.

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.

Community EMT proposal must protect public

6 Mar stacy2

3 some mat mac stacy2

Dealing with discharged patients continues to be one of the most confounding problems with hospital care. Nurses often don’t have the time to give patients all the education they need when they leave the hospital. The result: many go home confused, unable to care for themselves, and unsure how to get better.


Rep. Tara Mack (R- Apple Valley) Community EMT bill (HF261) enables EMTs to visit discharged patients the day after they get home, but the bill doesn’t actually specify what CEMTs can and can’t do.   The result could be agencies that allow CEMTs’ work to infringe on what nurses are specifically trained and prepared to do.


“Anybody can take vital signs but it’s what you do with that information that’s dependent on your training,” said Stacy Enger, an ER nurse at Methodist Hospital, “As a nurse, I’m trained and licensed to assess, intervene, and most importantly, re-assess patients.”


Enger testified at the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee hearing on the bill that she’s seen the effects of firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics who visit discharged patients already. Agencies in the west Metro, including Edina, St. Louis Park, and Eden Prairie have already begun the CEMT program with the help of Methodist.


“Edina and Burnsville use volunteer firefighters and there’s a clear difference in what we learn about a patient coming in with those departments versus one who comes in from a paramedic from North Memorial, Allina, or HCMC,” Enger said.


The Chief Nursing Officer at Methodist, who testified for the bill, confirmed that they still get many questions on the hospital nurse triage line even with the program.   The bill also has the support of the Professional Fire Fighters Association, which claims that 80 percent of their firefighters’ work is now healthcare.


MNA Nursing Policy Specialist, Mat Keller, pointed to the many problems that still exist in the legal language of the bill. He noted that the language allows CEMTs can do anything to intervene that prevents emergency department caring for the patient.   He said that could include anything from administering IVs to delivering a baby.


“It is important to remember that an EMT certification requires only 120 hours of training,” said Keller, a nurse and an attorney, “this equates to about half of one college semester. Furthermore, those 120 hours are dedicated to teaching EMTs the things they need to know in order to fulfill their role, which is to operate in emergency situations.”


Even proponents of the bill admit that CEMTs would probably only spend 15-20 minutes with a patient during their visit, which doesn’t allow for a proper assessment.


“Let’s say I’ve come to see you, and one thing I do is get you up and help you walk around,” Enger said, “one of the first things I’m looking for is if you are a fall risk. Can you get around? Are there things in your way that you might trip over or hit with a walker or crutches? We call it a “road test.” Sometimes, you road test somebody and you realize that the house needs to be de-cluttered or maybe rails or supports need to be installed somewhere. Sometimes, you road test somebody and they’re very quickly out of breath. We have to figure out if it’s because you are or have been a smoker. Or maybe it’s because you’ve gotten a hospital-acquired infection, which might turn into a fatal pneumonia?”


Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul), an RN, mentioned her time caring for patients at the bedside and in the home setting. Murphy urged “more work “ on the bill to delineate tasks and eliminate any infringement on the scope of practice.


Rep. Mack admitted that another issue to be worked on is which Minnesota board will oversee CEMTs. The bill names the Emergency Medical Services Board, but, as Keller noted, these actions would only be non-emergency situations.


HF261 was passed over for possible inclusion in the final Health and Human Services bill. MNA will continue to visit the Capitol with nurses to work with legislators on making the bill something that can truly benefit the patients of Minnesota.

MNA Daily NewsScan, August 27, 2012 – MNA RNs Help Recovering Patient See Son’s West Coast Wedding

27 Aug


Worth Watching: MNA RNs help recovering patient see his son’s West Coast wedding.


Worth Reading: The Center For Public Integrity has a series out on how politicians are manipulating the facts about medicare during election season.

Moody’s Investors Service has declared that not-for-profit hospitals are financially stable for now, but the fiscal realities of the Affordable Care Act could darken that picture in the future.


Right-to-work: “They want to run us to death.”

MNA Daily NewsScan, August 24, 2012 – Fairview Wants to Spend $53m … on Buildings; Boston RNs Ponder Strike Vote; A Night ER Staff Will Never Forget

24 Aug


Fairview Health Services wants to spend $53 million to … wait for it … make capital improvements.

From The New York Times: A Night the ER Staff in Aurora, Colorado will never forget.


Hundreds of nurses in the Boston area will vote next week whether or not to authorize a strike.

MNA Daily NewsScan, August 23, 2012 – State Fair Begins; Hospitals Sing Familiar Tune

23 Aug


Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Hospitals are blaming health care reform and the economy for cutting back on staffing levels.

Underscoring hospitals’ interest in employee health, 84 percent of medical facilities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that responded to a new survey offer workers a wellness program or activity.

Study: Middle Class Suffered “Worst Decade in Modern History” as wages stagnated, share of income fell.


Join MNA at the State Fair!

If you’re headed to the State Fair, make sure you stop by the MNA booth to say hello!

MNA Daily NewsScan, August 22, 2012 – Tragic Story Gets Worse; Hospitals’ Charity Care in Question

22 Aug


Sad story gets more grief: Jennifer Gallagher, a nurse who cared for Aurora shooting victims at the University of Colorado Hospital last month, drowned on Aug. 6 while swimming in Iowa’s Lake Okoboji.

Montana’s hospitals generally provide a sizable amount of charity care and community benefits, but a study released by the state’s attorney general has questioned the values stated by some of the facilities, reported the Helena Independent Record.

What are the 10 health care jobs most impacted by the new Affordable Care Act? Find out!


From The Huffington Post: What do Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and Switzerland have in common? They are four of the top five ranked countries in the conservative Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Economic Freedom. The Heritage Foundation scores countries based on a variety of factors, including the extent to which they depend on the rule of law, have limited government and regulatory efficiency, and the openness of their markets. The Freedom Index then ranks each country based on its score, categorizing them as “Free,” “Mostly Free,” “Moderately Free,” “Mostly Unfree” or “Repressed. For those wondering, the United States ranks tenth and is “Mostly Free.” While Public Citizen does not endorse the index or its criteria, we do find one unique commonality between Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and Switzerland that is particularly noteworthy: Each of these countries imposes taxes on financial transactions to curb speculation.

MNA Daily NewsScan, August 20, 2012: Wells Fargo Behaving Badly?

20 Aug


A former Wells Fargo & Co. mortgage consultant has accused the San Francisco-based bank of firing him in order to avoid paying for his daughter’s cancer treatment.


Members of the California Nurses Association urged state lawmakers to set a minimum level of charity care for all nonprofit hospitals in exchange for their lucrative, tax-exempt status. CNA released a study Wednesday concluding that beyond what they delivered in charity care, California’s nonprofit hospitals in 2010 received more than $1.8 billion in government subsidies and benefits from their tax exemption.

MNA Daily NewsScan, August 17, 2012:

17 Aug


Callifornia Nurses: Faulty $45 million computer health care system endangering patients’ lives.

Not-for-profit healthcare institutions have been undergoing audits from outside entities at a significantly higher rate than their for-profit counterparts, according to a new study by the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA).


Michigan Nurses: Collective Bargaining Keeps Our Patients Safe!

MNA Daily NewsScan, August 15, 2012: Docs Don’t Check Tests; Infection Rates Up

15 Aug


Physicians never checked the results of nearly half of the medical tests ordered the day of a patient’s discharge, according to a recent study.

Reported infection rates at healthcare organizations are up – but that’s not neccessarily bad news. Higher numbers signal better reporting, according to a new report.

MNA Daily NewsScan, August 13, 2012: Nurses Help Cut Mortality Rates in Half

13 Aug


NNU in the News: Health care is among the few sectors of the national economy where unionization is actually increasing. One local sign: nurses at St. Louis University Hospital and Des Peres Hospital recently pulled off rare votes to organize workers at local health institutions.

Nurses at California-based Arrowhead Regional Medical Center said patient care will likely decline if the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors imposes cuts to their pensions and the hospital continues expanding its use of registry nurses.


A nurse-led fast-track sepsis screening and diagnosis program cut mortality rates in half at nine California hospitals.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35,843 other followers