MNA keeping nurses in the forefrontin Annapolis.
MNA has made sure that nurses are part of the decision-making process of every major health policy initiative. MNA is working in the following areas:
* Health Insurance Exchange: MNA has been successful in ensuring that nurses are represented on the major advisory committees for Maryland's Health Benefits Exchange. These advisory committees will help the Exchange Board make policy decisions about every aspect of the Exchange. MNA has also been working in partnership with other organizations, such as the Maryland Women's Coalition on Health Care Reform, to jointly advocate on these issues;
* Workforce Planning and Development: MNA is part of the Maryland Steering Committee to determine how to implement the recommendations in the IOM Future of Nursing Report. This work has been beneficial in advocating for workforce planning and development for all nurses. For example, MNA is in the process of providing input to the Governor's Workforce Investment Board on advance practice nurses and primary care workforce development;
* Protecting Patients and Nurses in Facilities: The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is conducting a general review of facility regulations through the Task Force on Regulatory Efficiency as well as deeper review of assisted living regulations. MNA is participating in both processes, as there are many issues that will impact the safety of the work environment, staffing needs, and the quality of services for patients. As specific issues arise, MNA will keep you posted;
* Behavioral Health Reform: The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is embarking on a process to merge the public mental health and substance abuse treatment systems. MNA is closely involved to ensure that nurses can play an appropriate role in the new system and that patients will get the best services possible; and
* Public Health Initiatives: MNA has successfully secured seats for nurses on task forces and workgroups developing major public health initiatives, including the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, establishing a medical marijuana program in Maryland, and expanding reimbursement options for donor breast milk in hospitals.
MNA is also active in policy discussions around workplace bullying and safety, environmental health, and nursing education. Stay tuned for more updates.
by Robyn Elliott, MNA Lobbyist