9:04 AM Eastern - Friday, August 8, 2014

Healthcare Law Tax Credits Still Alive and Well #default

What a busy summer 2014 has turned out to be! Our work to protect, defend and educate our patients and communities about the Affordable Care Act is more important than ever.

I want to make sure that nurses know that tax credits to help people pay for their healthcare coverage are alive and well despite a divided ruling from a panel in the DC Court of Appeals in July. A similar panel in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond came to the opposite conclusion and upheld the financial assistance that is improving the healthcare of millions in federal marketplace states. These lawsuits--along with the House GOP's lawsuit against President Obama--are just extremists' latest desperate attacks on the healthcare law and the millions of American families benefiting from it.

It continues to be important that we speak out about grounding women's healthcare in sound policy and not ideology in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling. Last week the Obama administration said that employers who stop covering birth control must disclose the change to their employees.

In this issue we also highlight:

  • SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania support of gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf;

  • Two new studies that show more people are getting insured thanks to the healthcare law; and

  • Six new apps meant to lower the rate of readmission to hospitals.


In Solidarity,

Dian Palmer, RN
Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare



We Are Standing Behind a Candidate Who Shares Our Values!

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania joined SEIU 32BJ, SEIU 668 and the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council in endorsing Democratic candidate Tom Wolf for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2014.

"Tom Wolf has spent most of his life advocating for fairness, in business and in the community," SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania President Neal Bisno told the gathered crowd. "As head of the Wolf Organization, he shared 20 to 30 percent of his annual profits with the employees who made those profits possible."

Incumbent Governor Tom Corbett has been an active participant in the Medicaid Blockaid- denying healthcare coverage to hard working Pennsylvanians.

Read the full post here.


Nurse Practitioners Gain Flexibility With New State Law

Starting July 15, nurse practitioners in Kentucky who have completed a four-year collaboration with a physician will be allowed to prescribe routine medications without a doctor's involvement, a major shift that could help improve consumers' access to care.

Read more in Kaiser Health News.

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Nursing Jobs Not As Easy To Find As New Nurses Expected

Academic counsellors have told prospective students for years that they're a safe bet and that just about anyone with a nursing degree can land a decent (if not great) paying career. In fact, nursing jobs are one of the few careers expected to show continued growth as the baby boomer generation finishes its mad dash towards retirement. That said, there are many changes coming to nursing jobs, and many new nurses are finding it harder to find employment than they had expected...

There are simply more nursing school graduates than there are entry level nursing jobs...

[T]here will likely be a lot more nursing jobs available as more people benefit from the Affordable Care Act, as obesity problems in the United States increase and as our population continues to age. Many of these jobs, however, are likely to be in retirement communities, extended care facilities and other non-hospital settings.

Read the full article at Inquisitr.com.

Nurses Shift, Aiming for More Time With Patients

Hospitals are freeing up nurses to do the one thing they often don't have enough time for: taking care of patients.

Swamped with tasks such as hunting for supplies, tracking down medications, filling out paperwork at the nursing station and looking for missing test results, nurses may spend less than two hours of a 12-hour shift in direct patient care, studies show. But research has also found that the more time nurses spend at the bedside, the less likely patients are to suffer falls, infections and medication errors, and the more likely they will be satisfied with their care....

Now hospitals are changing traditional work practices, shifting more routine tasks to certified nurse assistants and other less highly skilled staffers. They are eliminating inefficient processes that make nurses walk as many as 5 miles around the hospital in a single shift. Some hospitals are aiming to triple the amount of time nurses spend with patients.

Read the full article here.

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Gaining Ground: Americans' Health Insurance Coverage and Access to Care After the Affordable Care Act's First Open Enrollment Period

A new Commonwealth Fund survey finds that in the wake of the Affordable Care Act's first open enrollment period, significantly fewer working-age adults are uninsured than just before the sign-up period began, and many have used their new coverage to obtain needed care.

Read the full article about the survey by clicking here.

Over 10 Million U.S. Adults Gain Coverage Under Obamacare: Study

An estimated 10.3 million American adults have gained health coverage since Obamacare enrollment began last October, with the biggest gains among young adults and Hispanics, according to a study published on Wednesday.

The findings by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and the federal government are based on data pointing to a 5.2 percentage point drop in the U.S. uninsured rate since last September for Americans aged 18-64.

Read the article at Reuters.

Supreme Court Takes Power from Working Women and Families & Hands It to Corporations 

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards posted a commentary in Roll Call about the Hobby Lobby decision. Below is an excerpt: 

It's incredible that justices of the Supreme Court with little to zero connection to the issues facing ordinary, hard-working Americans every day have issued rulings with the potential to devastate our goals for a better future. But we won't allow this to happen. We are going to transform these setbacks into opportunities by motivating Americans across the country to vote for candidates who are in touch with reality and who want us to succeed.

Women across the country are engaged and enraged. Planned Parenthood collected more than 186,000 signatures on its #JoinTheDissent petition in less than a week, and more than 5 million people viewed the organization's Facebook post about the Hobby Lobby decision within the first 24 hours of the ruling.

To read the full commentary in Roll Call click here.

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Patient-Centered Medical Homes a 'Work in Progress'

The patient-centered medical home [which emphasizes better care coordination] may not be as effective in improving quality care and lowering costs as hoped, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association

The study, conducted by researchers at the RAND Corporation and funded by Commonwealth Fund and Aetna Inc., evaluated the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chronic Care Initiative, one of the United States' earliest and largest medical home pilots. The pilot resulted in limited quality improvement and failed to save money over a three-year period, according to Mark W. Friedberg, M.D., a RAND researcher and the study's lead author.

Read the full article here.

Preventing Readmissions: Is There an App For That?

The idea behind developing mobile apps that help prevent readmissions is the promise of an emerging market to help hospitals avoid financial penalties issued under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for patients who return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. The first phase of penalties targeted patients readmitted for pneumonia, heart failure and heart attack. This year the penalties will also include readmissions for patients with COPD and total hip and total knee replacements.

Developers say providers are increasingly willing to test and invest in new technologies that aim to keep patients out of the hospital.

Check out this article that introduces some the thinking behind the development of the new apps.

See the six apps that aim to reduce readmission.

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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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