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Colorado Nurses Association Committee reports.


There is just something about back-to-school time that most of us enjoy. Whether it is the pack of newly sharpened pencils, the opportunities for learning and new adventures or simply the crisp look of stacked organizational binders, we all seem to look forward to this time of year. For nurses engaging in the public policy arena and the Colorado Nurses Association (CNA) Government Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) committee, this time of year also represents a time for education and action.

Over the summer months, the GAPP committee has been active with preparing for the next legislative session and the 2008 elections. Several of the committee members had the opportunity to attend state, regional and national conferences where they were able to learn and influence policy agendas and share strategies from Colorado Nurses Associations' recent legislative successes. These members have returned with renewed enthusiasm and fresh tools that will help strengthen C.N.A's advocacy for this next year. Additionally, GAPP members along with several other committees within C.N.A, helped interview and identify candidates for national and state level governmental offices who will reflect our shared vision for healthcare access, quality and affordability and will be strong advocates for patients and Nursing during their term.

Education--the GAPP committee continues to actively engage nurses by providing healthcare advocacy and skill developing forums. The legislation that we worked on last session passed in large part because of the strong emphasis placed on education and grassroots. The GAPP committee will continue to keep this focus and invites you to join in.

* The Legislative Latte meetings are held on the third Saturday of each month from 8:30-10 am, and plans are in the works to make these forums available in additional settings around the state later this fall. These informal meetings are an excellent resource and opportunity to share how health policy is impacting you and your patients. Events are open to all Registered Nurses and RN students. Please check the C.N.A website at for location and other details.

* Save the date! Please also save a space on your calendar to attend the 100 Nurses for 100 Legislators annual event in January. We have tentatively selected January 17, 2009 and have new advocacy resources to share at this event. Come hear from legislators and policy makers on how you can make a difference in health care policy at the state and national levels, and gain new skills and confidence in advocacy. Details and registration information will be available on the Colorado Nurses Association website starting in late November/December. You won't want to miss this event to prepare for the Sunset of the Nurse Practice Act and the 2009 legislative session.

* Self-Study more your style? Pick up a copy of From Silence to Voice by Buresh and Gordon and stay connected through your membership with the Colorado Nurses Association.

Action--This is the perfect time to get active! Discussion about healthcare, policy and politics are everywhere this year. Each of us will have

* The Legislative Latte meetings are held multiple opportunities to impact the future of healthcare policy this Fall. Here are some options to get you started:

* Join the GAPP. The GAPP committee invites any C.N.A member to join the committee. We meet from 6-8pm on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday evenings during the legislative session and once a month during the off-session. Call-in conferencing is available for members that live outside of the metro area that would like to be involved. Dates are posted on the CNA website!

* Make sure that your email information is correct with the Colorado Nurse Association. Should breaking news or rapid policy advocacy needs arise, this will be the best way to stay informed and be active. Please update your changes with the C.N.A office.

* Register to vote! If you are not yet registered, call your county commissioner for details on how to sign up.

* Volunteer to help a candidate. One of the best ways to help support your values and influence policy is to dig-in and work on the campaign of a candidate that you support. Check out the website for candidates that you support to get details on what you can do. I met an NP in Michigan that worked on the election campaign for governor a few years ago. When her candidate was elected, she was invited to be part of his "move-in team" and sit on a health advisory board! You never know what doors that your effort will open for you or our profession.

* Let the GAPP committee know what we can do for you. We desire to advocate for you and your patients. However, we need to hear from you to learn where targeted advocacy is needed. Email the GAPP Chair at

Thank you for allowing us to serve you and our community. We look forward to the possibilities that we can achieve as we collectively use our voices.--Tay Kopanos, GAPP Chair for the GAPP Committee.


With elections looming ahead we have focused on connecting with candidates and promoting the concept of universal access to health care. In May, Senators Bob Bacon and Brandon Shaffer were thwarted in bringing forward a single payer resolution during this legislative session. Our hope is that this resolution will move forward in the fall. In the meantime, we have been involved with our legislative (GAPP) committee and other community groups, such as Health Care for All Colorado (HCAC), in assessing Senator Bob Hagedorn's SB 217, Centennial Care Choices. This committee had some reservations about this bill and we hope to actively participate in discussions toward any efforts to reduce the number of Coloradans who currently do not have access to health services. Updated information is available at HCAC's website: www.HealthcareforAllColorado. org.

Governor Ritter recently announced his first "Building Blocks to Health Care Reform." One important aspect of this package is the increase in the Child Health Plan Plus and Medicaid by more than 55,000 Colorado children over the next three years.

Educating the public has been high on our list of priorities. We were aided by Rocky Mountain PBS and Frontline with the offering of an excellent documentary called "Sick Around the World--5 Capitalist Democracies and How They Do It." The video describes and compares the health care delivery models in five industrialized nations that offer coverage to all their citizens at a cost of about half what we spend per person in the U.S. Our country currently ranks #37 in health care outcomes. In those countries where private insurance remains an option, such as Germany and Japan, insurance companies are not for profit, greatly reducing the amount of the health care expenditure. This video can be watched via the internet: just Google "Frontline."

In addition, we are partnering with several community groups and sending out notices to our members about educational meetings in their communities. Please let us know if you would like a meeting of this kind in your district. If you are in a group or organization outside of Colorado Nurses Association, that is interested in learning more about health care reform, please contact: Carol Farina at The Colorado Progressive Coalition (www.Progressivecoalition. org) had produced an 18 minute video based on the stories of four Colorado families struggling with securing health care. Please contact Carol Farina for more information.

We also welcome your participation on our committee: CNAHCA. This is a critical period in our country and if you have interest in these matters, we invite you to attend our meetings on the first Tuesday of every month at 6PM at the Colorado Nurses Association offices. Our committee will continue to work with other health care community groups such as Health Care for All Colorado to study health care related bills coming before our legislators.

No professional group has more to contribute to the solution of the problem of access to health care than nurses.

Respectfully submitted, Carol Farina, Co-Chair with Judith Burke
COPYRIGHT 2008 Colorado Nurses Association
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Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Farina, Carol; Burke, Judith
Publication:Colorado Nurse
Geographic Code:1U8CO
Date:Sep 1, 2008
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