OK, guys and gals- I'm getting on my soap box. Prepare to listen or get out your cotton balls. <g>
I received a letter from an agency that I work for from time to time in MA saying that there is a public hearing on 9/18 for the public to comment on the state's new plan to legislate agency nurse wages in the state of MA. They used a formula based on an average of staff nurse wages plus some percentage to cover lack of benefits. The public hearing notice lists several percentages that will be added to this and that, but never lists a base or end figure- no dollar amounts are mentioned. The letter from the agency states that agency rates could drop as much as $10 per hour and that nurses who work full time might not be eligible for health benefits from the agency any more.
The state of MA tried to pass this as a law (VERY quietly- I heard nothing about it!) and it was shot down as being unconstitutional. Then, to get around that, the state put it in as a budget amendment. They made this change effective 8/13- and notified the agency in a letter dated 8/14. It is being appealed by at least this one agency. I don't like that agency, but hey- they cared enough to send letters out to all of their nurses with copies of the regulation to get us to act.
I plan on being at that hearing. And I plan on writing letters to the governor of MA and MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services. I urge any one who has a MA license to join me. Heck- EVERYONE should join in. A similar thing was done in MN and it will only spread.
The regulation is: 114.2 CMR 45.00 Temporary Nursing Services
The website is: www.mass.gov/dhcfp
The Acting Governor of MA is Jane Swift
The Secretary of the DHCFP (Dept of Health Care Finance and Policy) is Robert P. Gittens
The Chief Administration Officer of DHCFP is Michael F. Berolini
Anyone fought this successfully in your home state? Any ideas?
Aug 31, '02
Making an item an amendment to a bill does NOT get around its constitutionality. If it is unconstitutional, a court will someday make that ruling--and that will probably also include giving back pay to all those ripped off by the lousy law in the meanwhile. How would a State court figure it had the authority to set salary caps for private industry? No way. Minimum wage, yes. Maximum, no.
The hospitals in Mass have as much stake in seeing that such a foolish law does not pass as anyone has--who would do agency work there? They would still be short-handed.
Glad that at least one aqency has some courage. Interesting, but I'd be mighty surprised if it is even passed in the first place.
Last edit by sjoe on Sep 1, '02
Sep 4, '02
Ratchit, your comment about Minnesota is only partially correct. I'm not sure of all of the facts here, but will look it up for you (it will take some time; I tried a quick search and couldn't find it).
Minnesota DID regulate the price agencies could charge in some public-owned rural facilities because it was way beyond the local earnings and the agencies were making the excess $$$$ and not the agency nurses (at least I THINK that was how it went-- it was something like that).
I'll keep searching til I find the info for you.
Last edit by Jenny P on Sep 4, '02