9:10 AM Eastern - Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Healthcare Law Turns Five #default

Fight to defend it more important than ever

On March 23, the Affordable Care Act turned 5, and what a difference it has made in the lives of our patients. I hope that you took a moment to celebrate--without you, we never would have made this happen.

The law continues to be under attack and we must continue our efforts to protect and improve it for our patients. The latest attack by the extremists in the U.S. House of Representatives came as they advanced a budget that not only would repeal the healthcare law, but also would privatize Medicare. As nurses, we know this is not the path forward for better healthcare.

In this issue, we have some great information to highlight including:


  • The latest from the Safe Care Standards Campaign in California;

  • An organizing victory for nurses in Pennsylvania;

  • News on the gender pay gap in nursing; and

  • An interview in Medscape with one of the leading physicians on the growing epidemic of pediatric liver disease.


In Solidarity,
Dian Palmer, RN
Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare



NEWS FROM THE STATES

California

California Safe Care Standards campaign moves into next phase

The California Safe Care Standards campaign is working to get Cal/OSHA--the government agency charged with protecting workers in the state from health and safety hazards on the job--to develop an enforceable workplace violence prevention regulation for healthcare workers with commonsense safeguards for all healthcare workers.

Click here for the full blog post on the latest in the campaign:
http://safecarestandard.org/2015/03/24/workplace-violence-prevention-its-not-rocket-science/#more-792


Nurse Alliance of California prepares for legislative conference: Safe Nurses Save Patients

The Nurse Alliance of California prepares for the 2015 Legislative Conference: Safe Nurses Save Patients. This year's conference will be held in Sacramento, Calif., on May 5-6.

The sessions this year will include:


  • Labor and Management Unite, Teaming up to improve patient care, outcomes and lower costs through quality initiatives.

  • Navigating Our Way Back, The BRN Diversion Program offers intervention and treatment services for RNs struggling with substance abuse or mental illness allowing them to return to safe practice.

  • Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility, Changing the culture so we never hear again that "nurses eat their young"; creating a strong alliance for better patient care.


Click here for updates and more information:
http://www.nurseallianceca.org/2015/02/24/2015-legislative-conference-this-may/


Pennsylvania

Canonsburg nurses vote overwhelmingly to join SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania

Registered nurses at Canonsburg General Hospital near Pittsburgh voted overwhelmingly March 8 to unite with 25,000 other healthcare workers in SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. With a majority of 78percent, nurses cast their votes to have a stronger voice on the job to maintain quality care standards and improve working conditions.

Click here to read the full post: http://www.seiuhcpa.org/2015/03/11/1845/



NEWS NURSES NEED

Even in nursing, men earn more than women

The gender pay gap is alive and well, even in the female-dominated field of nursing--that is, unless nurses have a union contract and a wage scale. Check out the excerpt from the NPR story below:

Women outnumber men in the nursing profession by more than 10 to 1. But men still earn more, a new study finds.

Even after controlling for age, race, marital status and children in the home, males in nursing outearned females by nearly $7,700 per year in outpatient settings and nearly $3,900 in hospitals.

As men flowed into nursing over the past decades, the pay gap did not narrow over the years studied: 1988 to 2013. The report was published Tuesday in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Click here to see the NPR story: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/03/24/394915756/even-in-nursing-men-earn-more-than-women

Click here to see the report in JAMA: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2208795


Despite high rates of nursing injuries, government regulators take little action

Just about everybody who has studied the hospital industry agrees it needs to confront the epidemic that plagues many of its staff: Tens of thousands of nursing employees suffer debilitating injuries every year, mainly from doing part of their everyday jobs--moving and lifting patients. The problem is nobody agrees how to get hospitals to take aggressive action.

As NPR has been reporting in its Injured Nurses series, nursing employees suffer more back and arm injuries than just about any other occupations.

"It means that workers who are relatively young have to stop working early in many cases," says David Michaels, chief of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "They go home and they have real disabilities. They have trouble lifting up their kids. They have trouble doing a lot of the daily tasks of life, because of back injuries, arm injuries, shoulder injuries. It's a very big deal."

Click here to read and listen to the full story at NPR: http://www.npr.org/2015/03/24/394823592/despite-high-rates-of-nursing-injuries-government-regulators-take-little-action


Tightening labor markets pressure healthcare to up wages

Healthcare increasingly will face the type of wage pressure other sectors of the U.S. economy already have experienced, labor market experts predict.

Signs of the building pressure already have begun to emerge. Health insurer Aetna said in January all its employees will earn at least $16 an hour starting in April. That's more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25, which has not been raised since 2009.

A hospital system in Dallas raised hourly wages last year for some of its employees to $10.25 funded through executive bonuses.

Those follow examples of employers in other sectors of the economy also raising wages where the pool of available workers does not match their demand for new employees.

Click here to read the full article in Modern Healthcare:
http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150326/NEWS/150329935


Supreme Court lightens load for pregnant employees

The Supreme Court made it easier Wednesday for women to sue their employers for failing to accommodate a pregnancy.

In a 6-3 decision, the court revived a lawsuit brought by a former United Parcel Service driver named Peggy Young who sued the company---under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978---after it denied her "light duty" when she became pregnant. Young will now have the opportunity to allege discrimination under the theory set forth in the opinion.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/supreme-court-pregnancy-ruling-ups-peggy-young-116392.html#ixzz3Vse0mYRs



COUNTDOWN TO COVERAGE

Affordable Care Act turns 5

On the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, we celebrate how the law is working to provide quality, affordable healthcare coverage to more Americans than in four decades--and the ongoing fight of SEIU members to promote and protect it.

Click here to see the video the SEIU team put together of the work our members have done in passing and protecting this historic law: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152632485102680


House Republican budget overhauls Medicare, repeals ACA

House Republicans unveiled a proposed budget for 2016 on March 17that partly privatizes Medicare, turns Medicaid into block grants to the states, repeals the Affordable Care Act and reaches balance in 10 years, challenging Republicans in Congress to make good on their promises to deeply cut federal spending.

The House proposal leans heavily on the policy prescriptions that Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) outlined when he was budget chairman, according to senior House Republican aides and members of Congress.

Read the full article in The NY Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/17/us/politics/house-republican-budget-overhauls-medicare-and-repeals-the-health-law.html?_r=1



WHAT WE'RE READING

The growing problem of pediatric fatty liver disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has emerged as the most common cause of liver disease in the developed world. NAFLD encompasses two distinct conditions: steatosis, which is excess fat accumulation within the hepatocytes, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), characterized by progressive inflammation and fibrosis.

Obesity is a major risk factor for NAFLD, and the dramatic global increase in obesity has fueled a parallel increase in NAFLD, even in children. By now, NAFLD is on the radar screen of most pediatricians and primary care clinicians, but uncertainty about screening, diagnosis and treatment of NAFLD in children leave many wondering what to do when an obese child or adolescent presents to the clinic. Should they screen for NAFLD; if so, how? If NAFLD is found or suspected, are there any effective treatments? What is the prognosis for children who develop NAFLD?

To answer these questions and others, Medscape spoke with Bryan Rudolph, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, N.Y.

Click here to read the interview at Medscape: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/841749?src=wnl_edit_specol&uac=205041HN


Coffee and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Brewing evidence for hepatoprotection?

Coffee is a brewed beverage with a distinct aroma and flavor, prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant. It has been part of the human diet since the 15th century. In its various forms (including decaffeinated coffee), coffee is one of the most consumed drinks in the world, partly for its mild mood-enhancing and stimulatory effects on the central nervous system. Caffeine, one of the main constituents of coffee, has been shown to have a wide spectrum of biological activities. The effects of coffee on chronic liver disease, especially in lowering the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has recently attracted considerable attention.

Click here to read the full article at Medscape: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/821229?src=wnl_edit_specol&uac=205041HN



QUICK LINKS

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