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Information for NH Residents on 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace

Healthcare Gov ACA Obama

NH Insurance Department Issues First in a Series of Consumer Guidance

Concord, NH ­– The New Hampshire Insurance Department offers information to state residents who plan to purchase health insurance in the individual market for 2015, including plans offered through the state’s federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace (www.HealthCare.gov).

“As the November 15 open enrollment date approaches, we want New Hampshire citizens who plan to buy health insurance through the Marketplace to be aware of their options as consumers,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “The Insurance Department regulates all insurance offered to individual consumers in the state, including health insurance.  While we are not involved in enrollment for the Marketplace, we can offer guidance that will enable residents to make informed choices.  Our Consumer Services staff is also available to assist with issues that arise after people are enrolled in coverage.” 

More choices for New Hampshire residents and businesses in 2015:  

Just one company, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, offered health insurance plans on the federally facilitated New Hampshire Health Marketplace in 2014, its first year in operation. However, in 2015, New Hampshire residents using the Marketplace will have five health insurance companies – and many plans and health provider networks – to choose among:

  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Assurant (Time)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • Maine Community Health Options
  • Minuteman Health

All but Assurant also plan to offer health insurance on the federally-operated Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) for New Hampshire, available to businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

For more information about these companies’ health provider networks, go to: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/legal/documents/pres_updated_network08.25.14.pdf.
More detailed plan comparison information will also be available soon on www.CoveringNewHampshire.org 

Another new option: New Hampshire Health Protection Program:

The New Hampshire Health Protection Program, New Hampshire’s new health program for low-income residents, began offering coverage on Aug. 15, 2014.  People whose income is below certain levels (about $16,000 for an individual or $32,000 for a family of four) can qualify for no-cost or very low-cost health coverage.  More information is available from the NH Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/ombp/nhhpp/.

People who are eligible for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program may not continue to receive federal tax credits in 2015. They should go to www.HealthCare.gov between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 to cancel any 2015 Marketplace coverage and tax credits. 

Open enrollment – be sure to check your options, even if you’re already covered:

For 2015 individual plans, open enrollment begins Nov. 15, 2014 and ends Feb. 15, 2015. These dates apply to all individual health insurance plans, regardless of whether they are purchased through the Marketplace (www.HealthCare.gov). New Hampshire residents buying individual market coverage will not be able to buy 2015 coverage or change their 2015 plans after Feb. 15, 2015 unless they have a change in circumstances, such as changing jobs, getting married, or having a baby.

Coverage for 2015 plans can begin as soon as Jan. 1, 2015 (for those who sign up by Dec. 15, 2014).

Open enrollment is a resident’s opportunity to check the Marketplace to see whether there is a new plan that costs less, has a more suitable network, or has better cost sharing or prescription drug coverage.

New Hampshire residents who had coverage in 2014 should watch their mail for a renewal letter from their insurance company that explains their options and timeframes for renewal. People who bought health coverage in 2014 will be renewed on their current plan, or one that is similar, if they take no action.

Those who bought 2014 coverage on www.HealthCare.gov also will receive a notification from the Marketplace about their specific options, including information about any tax credits.  For most people receiving tax credits, the credits also will continue at the same level if they take no action.

Automatic renewal may not be the best choice, especially for people receiving tax credits:

  • Tax credit amounts are based on income and family size, but also on the pricing of plans available for that calendar year (2nd lowest cost silver plan).
  • Those residents receiving tax credits should check their options to be sure they are getting the assistance for which they are eligible, and that their tax credit amount is based on the most current information.

COMING SOON: Where can I get help with renewal and enrollment questions?

The New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. For more information, visit http://www.nh.gov/insurance

Jeanne Shaheen Releases New TV Ad and Three New Digital Ads

Screen shot of Ad

New Shaheen Campaign TV Ad Highlights Clear Choice For New Hampshire

Latest Ad Highlights Shaheen Record Working For NH Small Businesses,
Brown Record Siding With Big Oil, Big Banks and Out-of-State Corporate Interests, Not New Hampshire’s

Today, the Shaheen campaign released a new television ad titled Clear Choice,” which highlights the contrast  between Senator Shaheen’s work making a difference for New Hampshire small businesses and Scott Brown’s record of delivering for corporate special interests like Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that outsource jobs.

To watch the ad, click here

“The choice for Granite Staters is clear: while Jeanne Shaheen has helped countless New Hampshire businesses grow and create jobs, Scott Brown has spent his career delivering for Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that outsource jobs. Scott Brown is not for New Hampshire,” said Shaheen Campaign Communications Director Harrell Kirstein.

The ad discusses how the bipartisan Small Business Jobs Act Shaheen championed and the Small Business Innovation Research Program she fought to expand have both helped New Hampshire businesses grow and create jobs.

“Her Small Business Jobs Act cut our taxes,” says Aaron Bagshaw, Owner of WH Bagshaw, in the ad.

“Jeanne Shaheen championed innovation grants; we’ve hired 50 new people,” says Jenny Houston, Owner of Warwick Mills.

The Small Business Jobs Act cut taxes for small businesses, increased business’ access to credit and helped New Hampshire companies export their products. The Small Business Innovation Research program gives funding to small businesses to invest in research and development.

In contrast, Scott Brown voted against the Small Business Jobs Act, instead supporting billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil and companies that ship jobs overseas. Scott Brown also secured billions in special breaks for Wall Street when he watered down new regulations on behalf of the big banks.

At a debate on Tuesday, a Concord audience laughed at Scott Brown when he tried to run from his long and well-documented support for companies that outsource jobs; in the Senate, Brown voted to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and he’s now personally profiting as a board member of a company that sent jobs to China and Mexico.

Shaheen Campaign Also Releases Three Digital Ads Ahead of Thursday Debate

Ads Highlight Choice Between Shaheen Record Fighting for New Hampshire and Brown Record Proving NH Families Can’t Trust Him

Also today, the Shaheen campaign released three digital pre-roll ads that are running online on websites like Hulu, Youtube, and Pandora, which all highlight the choice voters face in the November election. The ads contrast Jeanne Shaheen’s record fighting for New Hampshire and Scott Brown’s positions that show he can’t be trusted to stand up for our state’s women or middle class families.

“With less than two weeks until the election, New Hampshire voters continue to see a very clear choice between a Senator who has spent decades fighting to make a difference for the people of this state and someone who has shown time and time again that he can’t be trusted to stand up for women or middle class families here in New Hampshire,” said Shaheen Campaign Communications Director Harrell Kirstein.

“Whether it’s his votes against equal pay for equal work, his support for legislation that would allow employers to deny women access to contraception or his involvement with shady corporate interests, Scott Brown’s record is clear.  He’s not for New Hampshire,” Kirstein added.

The first ad, titled, Workforce,” discusses the pay gap working women face in today’s economy, the work Senator Shaheen has done to combat pay discrimination, and the Senator’s work to ensure that women should always have the right to make their own healthcare decisions. The ad goes on to discuss Scott Brown’s vote against the Paycheck Fairness Act and co-sponsorship of the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers to deny women coverage for birth control.

The second, titled Equal Rights,” highlights Scott Brown’s support for legislation that would deny women access to contraception and his opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen equal pay protections for women. The ad also discusses Scott Brown’s backward positions on marriage equality, including his past votes to ban gay marriage.

The third ad, titled, Resigned,” highlight’s Scott Brown’s actions following his failed reelection bid for the Senate in Massachusetts that include getting paid $1.3 million in stock from a Florida company called Global Digital Solutions (GDSI), a controversial cosmetics company turned arms manufacturer whose executives have been sued for fraud.

Labor Movement Mobilizes Latino Working Families Ahead of Midterm Elections

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

Latinos in key battleground states rally around worker-friendly candidates

(Washington, DC) – With the 2014 midterm elections around the corner, the AFL-CIO is increasing its mobilization efforts to reach out to Latinos voters in key states across the country. The AFL-CIO is urging voters to support candidates who stand up for the issues that matter the most to working families, not just wealthy CEOs.

Through phone banks, canvassing and community organizations, volunteers are reaching out to Latino voters in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Last week the AFL-CIO circulated fact sheets detailing the significance of the Latino vote in deciding important races in each of these states.

“Latino voters are vital to ensuring that worker-friendly candidates are elected to represent their communities,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “So much is at stake this year – from keeping higher education affordable to implementing a roadmap to citizenship. It is clear that Latinos cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. The labor movement is committed to making sure that the voice of this important community is heard loud and clear on November 4th.”

America’s Latinos are an ever-increasing voting population. According to the Pew Research Center, a record 25.2 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2014 midterm elections, making up 11% of eligible voters nationwide. However, the turnout rate of eligible Latino voters has historically lagged that of whites and blacks by substantial margins. The efforts of the AFL-CIO seek to close this turnout gap and support the election of politicians that stand up for middle class families.

Local Economy PAC Announces “All About Andy” Campaign to Introduce Voters to the Real Andy Sanborn

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Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 6.47.53 AM

Campaign will educate Senate District 9 voters about Sanborn’s extreme voting record, money ties, and business dealings 

Peterborough, NH – A new campaign dubbed “All About Andy” will use mail, paid advertising, direct voter contact, and online activities to introduce voters across Senate District 9 to the real Andy Sanborn in the run-up to the November 4 election. The campaign and a related microsite, www.allaboutandy.org, were announced this morning by Strong Local Economies NH, a state political committee formed by New Hampshire residents to advance a proactive local economy agenda for New Hampshire.

“Andy Sanborn wants District 9 voters to believe he’s a bipartisan compromiser. But based on his voting record, he’s the most extreme member of the New Hampshire Senate – and votes don’t lie,” said Molly Cowan, chair of Strong Local Economies NH. “When we scored and graded every senator on local economy votes in our Local Economy Report Card, Sanborn earned an F grade and a score of just 27% – far below every other senator, Republican or Democrat.”

The Local Economy Report Card, released in September, found Sanborn voted against helping unemployed people start small businesses, against expanding access to affordable health coverage for 50,000 uninsured New Hampshire residents, and against multiple bills aimed at combating the corruption of the political process by big money that stacks the deck in favor of out-of-state big business interests at the expense of local, home-grown small businesses, among other things. The full report card is available online at: http://bit.ly/NHLocalEconomyReportCard

“Republicans and Democrats across District 9 are joining in opposition to Sanborn not only because of his failing grades on local economy issues, but also because of serious questions about his values and his judgment raised by his financial ties and business dealings,” Cowan said. “The ‘All About Andy’ campaign will highlight these questions and bring a reality check to Sanborn’s claims about bipartisanship. Because in reality, the only thing that’s bipartisan about Andy Sanborn is his opposition.”

Follow the “All About Andy” campaign sponsored by Strong Local Economies NH here:

Website: www.allaboutandy.org

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LocalEconomyNH

Facebook: www.facebook.com/StrongLocalEconomiesNH

State Employees and State Enter Contract Negotiations Tomorrow

SEIU 1984 Logo

SEIU 1984 LogoConcord, NH, October 22, 2014 – The State Employees’ Association/SEIU Local 1984, which represents 11 thousand state employees, announced that negotiations for the 2015-2017 employment contract between the employees and the state will officially begin tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning, the employees’ bargaining team will meet with the State’s team for the first time to begin the process of negotiating an employment contract that both sides find reasonable and fair.  Typically, the first meeting is focused on establishing “ground rules,” such as dates, times, frequency, location of meetings; the structure of sessions; the bargaining environment; among other things.

“We are pleased to begin negotiations in October, which is really when we are supposed to begin by statute,” said the workers’ Bargaining Chairman, James Nall.  “It is encouraging that Governor Hassan has agreed to engage in the process before the remainder of the budget process.  We are appreciative of her willingness to begin earlier this time.”

Over the last few cycles, contract negotiations were not complete until late in the budget process; leaving both the workers and the state vulnerable to the ramifications of the legislature trying to fit funding into a nearly completed budget.  “It is great to feel that we are not an afterthought, this time,” said Nall.

The price tag of the current contract accounts for just 18% of the state’s annual expenditures.  “People are quick to assume that this is the line item to slash when balancing the state’s budget,” said Rich Gulla, SEA/SEIU 1984 president.  “In reality, far more is paid to private contractors, who carry out functions that may have previously been performed by state workers.  Interestingly, many of those contractors are from out of state, so when they receive payment from our tax dollars, that money is not spent here; it isn’t placed back into New Hampshire’s economy.  This ultimately hurts our state.”

“Before we begin the bargaining process each time, we send out a survey to all the employees in the unit,” said Nall. “It was not surprising that when responding to what one thing they would change about their job it was not their wages or benefits.  It was to provide high quality service to our citizens.  They want to have the resources to do their job. Our employees strive to provide the services to those in need – whether that’s someone who’s driving on state roads or someone needing assistance with child support.  That’s commitment and dedication.”

“Many state employees are now doing the jobs of two to three employees,” said Gulla.  “This is the result of repeated budget cuts and the elimination of over 1200 positions over the last decade.  Agencies are underfunded year after year.  Management is avoiding more layoffs by not filling vacant positions.  The amount of work to be done doesn’t decrease, though, it increases.  So services for the citizens of this great state are being negatively impacted.  That’s a problem.”

Changes related to workplace safety and wages will likely be included in this round of negotiations.

AFL-CIO Worker’s Voice PAC To Air Ads In Seven Key States

AFL-CIO_Headquarters_by_Matthew_Bisanz2

With high stakes elections coming down to the wire across the country, the labor movement is going up on radio and TV in support of working family candidates.  The ads will build on the effective grassroots campaign that labor has been running for several months including door knocking, worksite leaflets and phone banking.

Workers’ Voice has just launched full 60 second radio ads designed to educate working families about the stakes on November 4th and promote the candidates who will work for their economic interests:

  • Senator Mark Begich (Alaska)
  • Senator Mark Udall (Colorado)
  • Congressman Bruce Braley (running for Senate in Iowa)
  • Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (running for Senate in Kentucky)
  • Congressman Mike Michaud (running for Governor in Maine)
  • Mary Burke (running for Governor in Wisconsin)

Each ad will run through Election Day in multiple markets across each state.

In addition, a 30 second television ad in Michigan launches today and will air through Election Day.

Each of these ads focus on economic issues and aim to clarify for voters which candidate will fight for a secure and growing middle class.

The Iowa radio ad is an example: By including Senate candidate Jodi Ernst’s own words in support of Social Security privatization, the ad steps above the din on an issue (retirement security) of deep-seated concern to working people in Iowa.

To listen to any of the radio ads, click below:

Alaska US Senate, Radio

Colorado US Senate, Radio

Iowa, US Senate Radio

Kentucky US Senate, Radio

Maine Governor Radio

Wisconsin Governor, Radio

And the Michigan Governor TV ad can be found here

Mass Nurses Alert Public Of Deteriorating Care At Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Nurses Make a Difference

Brigham & Women’s Hospital Nurses Hold Press Conference To Alert the Public About  Deteriorating Patient Care For the Most Critically Ill Patients

Partners HealthCare has increased patient assignments for nurses in the hospital’s ICUs in direct violation of a new state law requiring one-on-one attention to ensure patient safety

In conjunction with the press conference, nurses launched an effort to leaflet patients and families entering the hospital to warn them about the impact on their care, and the need to contact the hospital CEO to demand BWH follow the law

BOSTON, Mass. — The Registered Nurses at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, held a press conference today to alert the public about deteriorating patient care conditions and illegal practices by hospital management that are compromising the nurses’ ability to provide safe care and close monitoring for the most critically ill patients at this Level One trauma and transplant center. The press conference coincides with the launch of an effort by nurses to leaflet patients and families entering the hospital to warn them about the conditions and the impact on their care.

“The public needs to know that the health and safety of their loved ones is being placed in jeopardy here at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and it is being done in direct violation of a state law that is designed to ensure their safety,” said Patricia Powers, RN, an operating room nurse at the facility and chair of the nurses MNA/NNU local bargaining unit of more than 3,200 RNs at the facility.  “We want patients and families to know that they have a legal right to a safe standard of care at this hospital, and that they should not accept substandard care.”

The patient safety crisis at the Brigham comes at a time when Brigham & Women’s Hospital takes care of the state’s most critically ill patients, as evidenced by the high number of specialized intensive care units in the facility designed to provide minute-by-minute monitoring and cutting edge treatments for unstable, critically ill patients who are recovering from serious traumatic injuries, cardiac and thoracic surgery, acute medical conditions, premature and vulnerable infants, and patients recovering from heart, lung and kidney transplants. These patients demand one-one-one attention from BWH’s highly skilled nurses to help them recover.

To ensure the safety of critically ill patients, a new state law went into effect this month that mandates intensive care unit nurses can only be assigned one patient at a time. A nurse may care for a second patient only if the nurses on the unit have assessed that it is safe for both patients.

Unfortunately, in the wake of the law’s passage and its call for closer monitoring of ICU patients, the administration at BWH decided in August to cut the number of ICU beds and staff at the facility, eliminating five beds from the burn/trauma surgical intensive care unit and three beds from the thoracic intensive care unit. In addition, nurses in many of the hospital’s intensive care units have seen managers force them to take a second and even a third patient in direct violation of the law and the hospital’s own past practices.

“When nurses have too many patients, medical errors, complications, and even patient deaths are more likely, particularly for the highly vulnerable patients our ICU nurses take care of,” Powers said. “Now critically ill patients, who should have one-on-one attention, are being forced to share their nurse with another unstable critically ill patient, despite the strong objections by the nurses responsible for their care and safety.”

Since the hospital has implemented the cuts to ICU beds and increased nurses’ patient assignments, nurses have filed a number of official reports where their patient care assignments jeopardized the safety of their patients.

“To understand how serious this issue is for our patients, you need to understand how sick these patients are and what it takes to keep them safe,” Powers explained.  “We are talking about patients who may have just come out of major surgery, they may be intubated and connected to a ventilator to help them breathe, they may have numerous intravenous lines delivering highly sensitive medications into their bodies, they may be on dialysis, and connected to several monitoring devices to track their heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, brain function, etc.  And nurses are there to monitor and manage all of it, to interpret what the monitors are showing, to adjust the dosage of medications, to observe the patients skin coloring, pupil dilation, urine flow, all manner of signs and symptoms that show how well the patient is recovering; and depending on what the nurses see, they are there to take immediate action that could prevent a patient from going into crisis, and in many cases, it can mean the difference between life and death.  For years, our hospital has recognized the need for one nurse to be totally devoted to the care of these patients.  Now they want to divert nurses’ attention away from these patients, and hold them responsible for dividing their time among two of these very sick patients. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Recently, nurses on the thoracic intensive care unit, which cares for patients undergoing lung transplants, reported being forced to care for two patients, including highly vulnerable lung transplant patients, who should never share their nurse with another patient.  One nurse reported a potentially dangerous delay in responding to an alarm connected to a ventilator to breath for the patient because the nurse was in another room caring for another critically ill patient.

At a recent meeting with management where nurses reviewed these reports and informed the hospital of their obligation to follow the new law, management flatly refused to heed the nurses’ concerns or to follow the dictates of the new law.  Because the regulations regarding compliance with the law are still in development, the nurses have decided to go public with their concerns to pressure management to provide the care patients deserve.

ICU Care Cuts Part of Broader Effort by Partners to Cut Costs at the Expense of Patient Safety

The reduction of ICU beds and the increase in patient assignments in the ICU is having a ripple effect throughout the institution impacting the care and safety for patients in a number of other areas.  With fewer ICU beds and staff to care for them, critically ill patients who should be in an ICU bed cared for by a single nurse are now being held for hours in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) waiting for an ICU bed to open. Other ICU-ready patients are being held in the emergency department, where their nurse has two or three other patients under their care. Last week, the hospital was so busy, administration called a “Code Amber” which meant there were no beds available and patients had to be diverted to other hospitals. In the past, a Code Amber was called only when there was an external or internal disaster, such as when Hurricane Sandy hit, or the Marathon Bombing.  This Code Amber was called because there weren’t enough ICU beds and staff to care for the patients entering the hospital that day.

In addition to cutting care in the ICU the hospital has also decreased staff on its “code” team, eliminating a nurse from a group of specially trained staff who are on hand to respond to patient care emergencies. With the cuts in ICU staffing, it is more likely there will be situations where the code team is needed to revive a patient in crisis, yet with fewer code nurses, it will take longer to respond to those emergencies. When the nurses questioned the decision, management stated that cuts to the code team could save the hospital up to half a million dollars.  Coincidently, B&W CEO Betsy Nabel has recently received a 26 percent raise of just that amount – $500,000.

“As nurses, we provide 90 percent of the clinical care our patients receive. We have always been proud to be Brigham nurses because we could provide the high quality nursing care our patients needed,” Powers concluded.  “But now we are appalled that the leadership of Partners HealthCare, an organization that posted more than $600 million in profits last year and is spending millions of dollars in legal fees to win approval to expand their empire, has chosen to cut care to our patients and violate the law at the expense of our patients’ safety. We cannot and will not stand for these dangerous practices and we will be out here to educate the public that depends on this hospital to work with us to ensure they receive the care they deserve.”

_________________________________________

Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest professional health care organization and the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. The MNA is a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses’ union in the United States with more than 170,000 members from coast to coast.

Shea-Porter Cleans Up at NH1 Debate; Guinta Runs From Extreme Record

Carol Shea Porter - Frank Guinta

CONCORD—Carol Shea-Porter emerged the clear winner at tonight’s NH1 debate, discussing the work she is doing to create jobs around the District, including the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and offering solutions for middle class families that left Frank Guinta fumbling to defend his extreme Tea Party record.

“While Carol highlighted her work for New Hampshire’s middle class, Frank Guinta refused to explain his anti-middle-class budgets that would hurt seniors, came out in opposition to our state’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion, and wouldn’t tell voters why he voted against Planned Parenthood and why he opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother,” said Shea-Porter spokeswoman Marjorie Connolly. “First District voters have a clear choice on November 4th between Tea Partier Frank Guinta and Carol Shea-Porter, who’s working for the ‘Rest of Us.’”

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley released the following statement after tonight’s New Hampshire 1st Congressional debate:

“Tonight’s debate featured Tea Party former congressman Frank Guinta reiterate his extreme Koch Brothers agenda that includes cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans and big oil companies at the expense of middle-class families, cutting Social Security and privatizing Medicare, and opposing a woman’s right to choose even to save the life of the mother.”

“Granite State voters will reject Frank Guinta’s out-of-touch Tea Party views and his mystery-money scandals, and continue to support Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter’s proven record of standing up for middle-class priorities and supporting economic growth here in New Hampshire.”

Garcia Says the Violence Against Women Act is “Only a Catchy Title” and “Not Smart Spending”

Marilinda Garcia (Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Concord, NH – Last night during a live NH1 debate, Tea Party candidate Marilinda Garcia doubled-down on her opposition to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), calling it “only a catchy title” and “not smart spending”.

“For 20 years, the Violence Against Women Act has enjoyed strong bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats alike, and it has helped our community make huge strides in the fight to eradicate domestic violence, provide necessary support to victims, and put perpetrators behind bars,” said Kuster campaign spokeswoman Rosie Hilmer. “The fact that Marilinda Garcia would actually say that ‘just because this law has a catchy title, doesn’t make it a great law’ is incredibly insulting to the thousands of Granite Staters this law has helped over the past 20 years, and her assertion that providing support for victims of domestic violence is ‘not smart spending’ is truly egregious. This shows that Garcia will stop at nothing to enact her extreme, Tea Party agenda – to the detriment of our Granite State families.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is an advocate for New Hampshire women and their families, and she’s proud to join both her Republican and Democratic colleagues in the House in supporting the Violence Against Women Act.

AFT and National Nurses United Praise New CDC Ebola Guidelines For Healthcare Workers

CDC-logo-4inch

CDC-logo-4inch

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new Ebola guidance for U.S. healthcare workers.  AFT and National Nurses United have been pushing for more restrictive guidance to protect the millions of healthcare providers in the US.

After the news broke AFT President Randi Weingarten released the following statement:

“At hospitals throughout our nation, nurses and healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to be ready to care for whoever comes through their doors. The CDC’s new guidance for healthcare workers and the positive actions taken by the Obama administration fall directly in line with what our members called for last week: infection-control protocols and worker-preparedness plans; dedicated, specially trained teams of willing staff; and the proper equipment for nurses and healthcare professionals working in America’s hospitals.

As the second-largest nurses union in the United States, the AFT is working to keep our communities safe and healthy. That is why we are calling on the CDC to issue additional Ebola guidance for non-hospital healthcare settings and expanded guidance to guarantee wages and benefits for quarantined healthcare workers—so workers won’t have to choose between safety and living expenses. And we renew our call for hospitals to incorporate the voices of nurses and healthcare workers in the development and implementation of Ebola protocols.

We look forward to being a partner with the CDC to expand and improve guidance on Ebola or any other health issues facing America.”

The National Nurses United released the following:

National Nurses United today welcomed the call in the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for “rigorous and repeated training” for nurses and other health workers responding to the Ebola virus as NNU has been urging for two months, but said some substantial questions and concerns remain.

“It is clear from the abrupt change in position of the CDC in some areas that the registered nurses have moved the country and the CDC as the nurses champion protection for their patients and articulate the vulnerabilities for themselves. Nevertheless, the optimal standards should be in place tomorrow and, regrettably, they will not be,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.

With still significant questions regarding the most effective personal protective equipment, and the ongoing lack of any mandate on the hospitals to comply with the highest standards and protocols, “it is clear that nurses are going to have to continue to fight every step of the way to demand that every patient, every nurse, every frontline healthcare worker has the protection they need,” DeMoro said.

“The governing theme must be the precautionary principle, the highest safety standards in the face of this virulent disease, so that no nurses, other frontline health workers, or patients have to put their lives in jeopardy,” DeMoro said.

DeMoro noted that the call for continuous training, especially in group sessions with everyone practicing putting on and taking off the protective equipment, echoes a key demand of nurses.

“Most hospitals continue to fall far short of that standard,” she said. A national NNU survey, which now has nearly 3,000 responses from nurses in over 1,000 facilities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that 84 percent of nurses say their hospital has not provided education on Ebola with the ability for nurses to interact and ask questions.

Second, DeMoro called the guideline that any protective equipment leave ‘no skin exposed,’ a “direct testament to the courage of Briana Aguirre,”  the Texas Presbyterian Hospital RN who “made the incredibly brave decision” to publicly disclose that the suits at her Dallas hospital left exposed the necks and other skin of nurses who cared for Ebola-infected patients.

“Briana will be remembered as the Karen Silkwood of our time,” DeMoro said.  The gap in the suits was also revealed in a statement from Aguirre and other Dallas RNs released by NNU last week.

However, the CDC guidelines remain unclear on the most effective protective equipment, and, significantly, have their own gaping hole in the option offered to hospitals to select which protective equipment to use “based on availability” and other factors.

DeMoro called that loophole “an open invitation for hospitals to choose the cheapest protective equipment that will continue to put nurses and other health workers at considerable risk. Years of experience with our private hospital industry have demonstrated that far too many hospitals routinely put their budget goals and profit margins ahead of public safety, including in access to protective equipment.”

“We are contacting the CDC for specifics on the proper protective equipment and whether it meets the precautionary principle and the highest standard, in particular, full body coverage that prevents any blood or viral penetration,” DeMoro said.

Finally, she noted, “CDC readily admits it is not a regulatory agency. It has no authority to compel hospitals to comply with any guidelines.

“That is why we will continue to insist that Congress and the White House should mandate all hospitals meet the optimal uniform, national standards and protocols in order to safely protect patients, all healthcare workers and the public,” DeMoro said.

The public is invited to join that call by signing an NNU petition online at:

http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/page/s/national-nurses-united-urges-you-to-take-action-now?utm_source=nnu&utm_medium=btn&utm_campaign=petition

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