Healthcare law continues to deliver

01/26/2015

Happy New Year, Nurses.

By: Dian Palmer, RN Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare

By: Dian Palmer, RN Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare

As we said goodbye to 2014, I was proud to see the role of nurses highlighted in several stories on our nation's response to the threat of Ebola. Nurses were and are an integral part of our nation's public health preparedness and important leaders in helping to educate our communities about the facts on infectious disease and other critical health issues.

I am proud to see that again in the yearend Gallup poll the American people rated nurses highest on honesty and ethical standards. It says a lot about how hard we work and how much our patients and communities rely upon us as caregivers and advocates.

In this issue we have some great information including:


In solidarity,

Dian Palmer, RN
Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare

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NEWS FROM THE STATES

Florida

Historic Tentative Agreement Returns Steps, Offers Parity and Establishes Mandatory Staffing Ratios

The contract hammered out over the last several weeks by members of your Local 1991 bargaining team is one of the best we've ever had. This tentative agreement, which must still be ratified, is not only great for members--it's making history.

We negotiated unprecedented mandated staffing ratios with real teeth that will finally begin to address longstanding staffing concerns across the system. We got steps turned back on and fixed issues of wage compression for hundreds of employees caught in the recession cutbacks. We achieved parity for professionals on a number of issues, bringing their contract into alignment with the RN contract. It took a lot of hard work and testimony from many members at numerous sessions to get to this point. A ratification vote is scheduled for Nov. 6 and 7.

Check out the full blog post.


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NEWS NURSES NEED

OSHA Update: New Reporting Requirements Start January 1

Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, there will be a change to what covered employers are required to report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employers will now be required to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding out about the incident. Previously, employers were required to report all workplace fatalities, and when three or more workers were hospitalized in the same incident.

For more information and resources:

See OSHA's video on the new reporting requirement | Visit OSHA's webpage on the updated reporting requirements


As Feared, It's a Season of High Flu Intensity

At Nazareth Academy, a Roman Catholic high school just outside Chicago, a full quarter of the 780 students were out with the flu in early December, along with more than a dozen teachers. Officials at the school closed it for two days and disinfected the property.

The principal, Deborah Tracy, said it was the first time in her 15 years there that such a measure had been necessary. "It just really was unprecedented for here," she said

Nationwide, we're on track for a nasty flu season, with both a large number of cases and many severe ones that require hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It declared an influenza epidemic this week, a status achieved at some point nearly every year, though not usually this early in the season. Twenty-two states and Puerto Rico are reporting high flu intensity. In some parts of the country, flu infections have outpaced those from each of the last few years, according to data from the CDC.

Read the full article at The New York Times.

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COUNTDOWN TO COVERAGE

Obamacare's guaranteed health coverage changes lives in first year

Like many working Americans, Lisa Gray thought she had good health insurance.
That was until she was diagnosed with leukemia in mid-2013, and the self-employed businesswoman made a startling discovery: Her health plan didn't cover the chemotherapy she needed. "I thought I was going to die," Gray, 62, said recently, recalling her desperate scramble to get lifesaving drugs.

Through a mix of temporary measures, doctors and patient advocates managed to keep Gray stable for a few months.

But it was a new health plan through the Affordable Care Act that Gray credits with saving her life. The plan, which started Jan. 1, 2014, gave her access to the recommended chemotherapy. Her cancer went into remission in the fall.

Read the full article in the LA Times.


Health Insurance Enrollment Strongest in Federal Marketplace

The Obama administration reported Dec. 30, 2014, a big increase in new customers signing up for health insurance in Florida, Texas and other states using the federal insurance marketplace.

Read the full article in The New York Times.


Health Plan Enrollment Numbers Show Importance of Coming Supreme Court Case

A new report from the Obama administration highlights the very high stakes for a challenge to the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court. The subsidies the court may eradicate are helping a large majority of HealthCare.gov customers pay for theirhealth insurance. The report is the first time the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has delivered some numbers on exactly who is signing up for health insurance for 2015, since the open enrollment period began in mid-November.

Read the full article in The New York Times | Read the full report on the Marketplace

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WHAT WE'RE READING

Poverty, poor diabetes management go hand-in-hand: study

People who have difficulty paying for food and medications are associated with a higher likelihood of having poorer control over their diabetes, according to a new study examining the relationship between nonmedical determinants and health outcomes.

About 39 percent of patients studied reported to have at least one material need, such as food insecurity, unstable housing and underuse of medications due to cost, according to the study published Dec. 29, 2014, in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Read the full article in Modern Healthcare.


Smartphone Apps for BP Popular, Useful, but Unvalidated

A new review of smartphone-based applications for the self-management of hypertension suggests there is a need for greater oversight, particularly for the popular apps that measure an individual's blood pressure.

Although most of the smartphone-based apps simply record, track and analyze blood pressure over time, as well as provide feedback and general information about hypertension, the few apps that use the phone's camera to measure blood pressure without a cuff have not been validated, report investigators.

Read the full article at Medscape.


No Evidence for Most TV Medical Advice, Study Shows

Patients should be skeptical about claims and recommendations made on mainstream television medical talk shows, according to a Canadian media study published onlineDec. 17, 2014, in the British Medical Journal.

In many cases, investigators found specific details on the magnitude of benefit or harm and the cost and inconvenience of following recommendations were lacking, and evidence supporting them was contradictory or absent. Viewers had little basis for informed decision-making.

Read the full article at Medscape.

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QUICK LINKS

The Nurse Alliance Roundup is now online. Want to see past issues of the Nurse Alliance newsletter, beginning in 2013? Now you can.


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