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Visiting Your Legislator
Michigan ENA Members,
We are all facing new and unprecedented challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. I hope this update finds each of you and your families in good health.
There is no question that the new paradigm of patient care is challenging. In addition, the new realities related to social distancing have changed our daily lives outside of work as well. However, as professionals, we continue to keep an eye on the horizon to ensure the best possible care for our patients, both during and after this pandemic. Much of the focus of Congress and the Michigan Legislature is on the immediate needs related to the Covid-19 response, so very little is happening regarding our ENA legislative priorities.
As you identify needs related to Covid-19 in your practice, or for your patients, you may have occasion to reach out to your elected representatives. Please take the opportunity to share the challenges faced by you and your patients. This is more important than ever, and can help to establish a link to your legislators that can last for years to come.
Below is a summary of the federal and state legislative priorities and their current status.
Nurse Workforce Protection Act of 2020
Sets conditions for employers of nurses to receive certain COVID-19 relief funds. Requires employers receiving certain funds to retain at least 75 percent of their nursing staff. Employers are further prohibited from reducing nursing staff hours by more than 25 percent or cutting nursing salaries by more than 25 percent.
Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act of 2020
Would require the appointment of an individual to oversee federal acquisition and delivery of critical equipment and supplies, including PPE, related to COVID-19 outbreak. They would be armed with several authorities, such as provisions allowed under the Defense Production Act. This individual would also be involved in supply chains related to the expanded availability of testing, as well as the production and distribution of a vaccine, when available.
COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act of 2020
Requires the Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, to implement a national standard for infection control for employers to protect their workers from infectious and novel pathogens, such as the virus that causes COVID-19. These protections would apply to employers with workers determined to be at risk of exposure to COVID-19, including those employing emergency nurses.
MENA leadership continues to advocate for the workplace violence (WPV) bills in the Michigan Legislature. As of the present time, there has been no movement of either bill in Lansing. Senate Bill 80 remains in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, with no hearing date set. House Bill 4327 remains in the Judiciary Committee, having had one hearing. MENA supported the bill during that hearing.
Though the bills have not seen official movement of the bills, the MENA Advocacy Committee has kept busy in recent months growing our advocacy network and engaging with legislators. MENA has reached out to the Michigan delegation seeking advocacy champions and you responded! We now have 25 district advocacy champions covering 16 out of the 38 senate districts. Our two newest district champions are Laura White and Christy Rapoza.
Thank you for the following members who have joined our advocacy efforts:
We still need Advocacy Champions! If you are interested in becoming a District Advocacy Champion, please send an email to email@example.com . If you have never participated in advocacy before this is a great time to learn. We are here to guide you through the process each step of the way. This is a crucial time in healthcare, nursing voices must be heard. Please join us to get these bills through the legislature!
Brandi Uren MSN, RN, CEN
Government Affairs Chair