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MNA keeping nurses in the forefrontin Annapolis.

The Maryland Nurses Association (MNA) has been keeping nurses in the forefront of the public policy process in Annapolis. Even though the Maryland General Assembly will not be in regular session until January 2012, MNA is working at full speed on important policy issues that impact the nursing profession. This year has been especially busy, as State officials are in the midst of implementing federal health reform as well as initiating regulatory reform in key health systems areas.

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
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Author:Elliott, Robyn
Publication:Maryland Nurse
Geographic Code:1U5MD
Date:Nov 1, 2011
Previous Article:Nancy M. Parrish Huff.
Next Article:Leadership for healthcare change.

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