[LEGISLATION] H.R. 3723: Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2013

H.R. 3723: Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2013

To amend the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend the program for viral hepatitis surveillance, education, and testing in order to prevent deaths from chronic liver disease and liver cancer, and for other purposes.

Thank you to the newest Cosponsors.  Please thank your legislators for supporting legislation that YOU believe in.  If they are not listed as Cosponsors, touch base with them and let you know what you support.  Your voice goes a long way towards creating change.

 

Explore the full text:  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr3723/text

Take time to thank our supporters, or voice your thoughts to your representatives.

Need help finding your legislators?

Find your representatives: http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup

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[TAKE ACTION] Clash on VHA Nurse Oversight

“Clash on VHA Nurse Oversight”

Did you see? On January 26, 2014 the Wall Street Journal published an article that is making headlines. The article opened by saying “The Veterans Health Administration is taking heavy fire from doctor groups over a proposal to let nurses with advanced training practice medicine without physician supervision throughout the VHA system—even in states where laws require more oversight.”

Along with 40 other nursing organizations, ANA stands behind this change. Nurses are rising up across the country to let their Member of Congress know this is important to us. Please urge your Representative to support VHA’s recent change in their Nursing Handbook.

We need your voice!

Unfortunately, more than 60 physicians groups and a handful of Members of Congress have signed letters to the Department of Veterans Affairs expressing “strong concerns” that the proposed new nursing handbook would “effectively eliminate physician-led team-based care within the VHA system.”

Even the Secretary of the Veterans Administration, Secretary Eric Shinseki, who credits a nurse with saving his foot when physicians wanted to amputate it in Vietnam, says the change “will increase access to care and ensure continuation of the highest quality care for our nation’s veterans.”

Let’s educate Congress and stand together,

https://secure3.convio.net/ana/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=720139F447D2BD3F34EC66F18CE94035.app338b?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=437

[PATIENT ACTION NETWORK] Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate

Congress has returned to work after closing out 2013 with positive momentum towards repealing Medicare’s flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. Lawmakers passed separate legislative proposals in key committees in the House and Senate that would finally repeal the SGR and fix Medicare for patients.

Bipartisan negotiations over those legislative proposals are now underway. Congress will effectively be in session for just six weeks from now until March 31. 

It is time for Congress to bring repeal of the SGR across the finish line before payment cuts threaten physicians and patients once again. 

Tell Congress that patients must see action on repealing the SGR before March 31

You can send an email to your representative and senators or place a phone call today via the ANAs toll-free grassroots hotline at (888) 434-6200

Urge lawmakers to reinvigorate bipartisan efforts to repeal the SGR and ensure that progress does not stall before March 31. 

Be sure to visit FixMedicareNow.org for the latest information and resources on the AMA’s campaign to engage physicians, patients and policymakers in the effort to repeal the flawed Medicare SGR formula and achieve reform that will transform Medicare into an effective, 21st century model of care.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/link/target/pan/4JccEQ598.aspx

[LEGISLATIVE] State of the Union for Nurses

“Because of this law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she’s a woman.” –President Barack Obama, January 28, 2014

This past Tuesday, President Obama gave his annual State of the Union. Millions of Americans across the country tuned in to hear the President’s speech. Some Americans were jumping to their feet in applause and others yelling at the flickering screen in front of them.

Thank you to all the awesome RNs who followed @RNAction on Twitter that evening. We encourage you to continue to tell us how the ACA impacts you and your thoughts on the State of the Union address. Here’s the response from ANA’s President Karen Daley.

In response to President Obama, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) gave the official Republican response. Did you hear that nurses were specifically mentioned?

“Every day, we’re working to expand our economy one manufacturing job, nursing degree and small business at a time”

U.S. Representative Lois Capps Introduces Safe Staffing for Nurses Legislation

Earlier this year, U.S. Representative Lois Capps (D-CA), a nurse, introduced bi-partisan legislation allowing nurses to have a safer work environment. Congresswoman Capps, along with U.S. Representative David Joyce (R-OH), introduced the “Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2013,” HR 1821. The bill is currently in discussion with the Committee on Energy and Commerce and is also being read at the Committee on Ways and Means. 

The primary goal of the bill is to provide for patient protection by establishing safe nurse staffing levels at certain Medicare providers. The bill enumerates many well known facts about workplace safety for nurses, patients, and hospitals. Some include

  • Research shows that patient safety in hospitals is directly proportionate to the number of RNs working in the hospital. Higher staffing levels by experienced RNs are related to lower rates of negative patient outcomes.
  • A 2011 study on nurse staffing and inpatient hospital mortality shows that sub-optimal nurse staffing is linked with a greater likelihood of patient death in the hospital. A 2012 study of serious patient events reported to the Joint Commission demonstrates that one of the leading causes of all hospital sentinel events is human factors, including staffing and staffing skill mix.
  • Healthcare worker fatigue has been identified as a major patient safety hazard, and appropriate staffing policies and practices are indicated as an effective strategy to reduce healthcare worker fatigue and to protect patients. A national survey of RNs found that 74% experience acute or chronic effects of stress and overwork.
  • A 2012 study of Pennsylvania hospitals shows that by reducing nurse burnout, which is attributed in part to poor nurse staffing, those hospitals could prevent an estimated 4,160 infections with an associated savings of $41,000,000. That study also found that for each additional patient assigned to an RN for care, there is an incidence of roughly one additional catheter-acquired urinary tract infection per 1,000 patients, or 1,351 infections per year, costing those hospitals as much as $1,100,000 annually.
  • When hospitals employ insufficient numbers of nursing staff, RNs are being required to perform professional services under conditions that do not support quality health care or a healthful work environment for RNs.

The bill also establishes certain levels of safety for nurse staffing at Medicare participating hospitals. Each participating hospital shall implement a hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services furnished in the hospital, through which a nursing staff committee will help develop. 

The inclusive committee will “conduct regular, ongoing monitoring of the implementation of the hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services furnished in the hospital; carry out evaluations of the hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services at least annually; and make such modifications to the hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services as may be appropriate.”

There is yet to be a companion bill in the U.S. Senate, but as the bill moves forward, ONS will keep its members apprised of the legislation.

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Support for the National Nurse Act Continues to Build

Fourth+of+July.+Group+on+Capitol+steps,+1918Sixty-Eight Co-Sponsors and Counting

Thanks to the amazing effort by supporters throughout the country, H.R. 485, The National Nurse Act of 2013 now has 68 Congressional co-sponsors! The National Nursing Network Organization has heard back from a number of legislative staff working with members who have signed on in support

It has been particularly impressive to hear from nurses and key stakeholders who wish to contact their own U.S. Representative to urge they fully support The National Nurse Act of 2013 by becoming a co-sponsor.

Visit the Take Action Page to see how easy it is to begin this process. Should you wish to visit your U.S. Representative’s district office, you are welcome to email the NNNO Board for an informational packet that includes talking points, an explanation of H.R. 485, and a copy of the endorsement letter that includes the support of over 130 organizations and prominent individuals.

“Democracy is not something that you believe in, or something that you hang your hat on. It’s something that you do, you participate. Without participation, democracy crumbles and fails. If you participate, you win, and the future is yours.”
—Abbie Hoffman

[LEGISLATIVE UPDATE] S.Res. 60: A resolution supporting women’s reproductive health.

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S.Res. 60: A resolution supporting women’s reproductive health.

New Cosponsor: Sen. Max Baucus [D-MT]

New Cosponsor: Sen. Robert “Bob” Menéndez [D-NJ]

View the full text:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/sres60?utm_campaign=govtrack_email_update&utm_source=govtrack/email_update&utm_medium=email

Need help finding your legislators?

Find your representatives: http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup

[TAKE ACTION] Call Governor Cuomo and tell him: Ban fracking now.

ImageIn February, we won a small victory in the fight to ban fracking in New York: Governor Cuomo’s administration announced that it would take more time to decide whether to open New York to fracking, saying it needed more time to study the health impacts of fracking.1

Governor Cuomo’s administration announced that the state’s health impact study will be completed “in the next few weeks,” paving the way for Governor Cuomo to make a decision on fracking in New York.2

That means now is a vitally important time to continue to make our voices heard and to urge the governor to ban fracking. We need to inundate Governor Cuomo with calls to make it clear that New York needs a ban on fracking. Even one well, anywhere in the state, is unacceptable.

If it weren’t for the pressure we’ve put on Governor Cuomo to ban fracking, New York would already be experiencing the same toxic contamination as Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, and other states where fracking is happening. But our unrelenting pressure has made it politically impossible for the governor to proceed with fracking, and forced him to repeatedly delay his decision.

Governor Cuomo can go down in history as the governor who, in the wake of the worst fossil-fueled superstorm New York has ever seen, stood up to the fossil fuel industry by banning fracking. It’s up to us to  him to make the right choice.

Call Governor Cuomo and tell him to ban fracking. Click below for a sample script and the number to call:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=13217233&id=56322-3263997-hVGHNKx&t=4

1. Jon Campbell, “Health review needs ‘additional time’; Fracking deadline expected to be missed (UPDATED),” Politics on the Hudson, February 12, 2013
2. Michael Gormley, “NY will make health call on gas drilling in weeks,” Associated Press, March 11, 2013

Hill Day: An All-Day Advocacy Training Event for Oncology Nurses

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Are you interested in learning how to influence legislation for the health of your patients? Join more than 100 oncology nurses for Hill Day on April 23 in Washington, DC. You’ll take to the steps of the United States Capitol and raise awareness for patients with cancer, nursing education, a strong healthcare workforce, and continued federal investment in research funding.

Throughout the day, U.S. senators and representatives, federal policy leaders, and congressional staff will brief you on the current legislative environment. You’ll get the inside information on how laws are made, how Congress works, and how you can be an effective advocate. 

Sessions include

  • Civics 101: What Makes Washington Work?
  • ONS Health Practice Agenda: Avoiding Legislative Landmines and Policy Pitfalls
  • “Are You Talking to Me?”: How to Take a Congressional Meeting
  • A lunchtime talk by special guest speaker Patricia A. Grady, PhD, RN, FAAN, Director, NIH National Institute for Nursing Research

Each participant will be briefed by ONS Health Policy Director Alec Stone on the formal “asks” of the day, including policy requests on symptom management, education reimbursement, nursing workforce education grants, access to prescription medications, and funding for evidence-based research. You’ll then attend scheduled congressional meetings with your U.S. House and Senate offices to make the “ask” yourself. 

You’ll cap off your day with a congressional reception on Capitol Hill honoring members of Congress who have championed the oncology nursing profession. Don’t wait to put your passion for quality cancer care in motion—register for this unique opportunity when you sign up for Congress. 

http://congress.ons.org/education/hill.shtml

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[WEGO Health Activist Nomination] Please Take a Moment to Endorse Me!

[New Nomination] WEGO Health Activist Hero Award… will you please endorse and share?  Click on the link below, enter your email [WEGO doesn’t share it, but will confirm your vote.] Thank you in advance for your support!  xoxo