Published Nov 13, 2003
BUSH SIGNS LAW TO HELP HOSPITAL CHAINS HIRE NURSES
Bloomberg Business News
August 1, 2002
President George W. Bush signed legislation that will allow HCA Inc., Tenet Healthcare Corp. and other for-profit hospital chains suffering from a labor shortage to hire nurses trained with federal funds.
Congress last week overwhelmingly approved a compromise between the House and Senate bills passing December. The bill creates a new nursing corps and funds scholarships and loans for student nurses. Labor unions have objected to allowing for-profit hospitals to hire nurses trained with U.S. government funds. Last year, the U.S. General Accounting Office, Congress's investigative arm, reported that a nursing shortage had developed as fewer people entered the profession and America's aging population needed more health care. The bill calls for three more GAO studies on the nursing shortage, said Representative Billy Tauzin, a Louisiana Republican.
"This is not only step one, but it will also provide studies to tell us what steps tow and three should be," Tauzin said.
The Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will administer the program. Congress will decide later this year on the amount of money to be spent.
"This is a big victory for hospitals," said Richard Davidson, president of the American hospital Association, which represents facilities owned by HCA and Tenet. "The role of the federal government is critical in the support and funding of an adequate nursing workforce."
Labor leaders said more should be done to make hospitals a better work environment for nurses, who are frustrated by conditions including long hours, they said.
Sandra Feldman, president of the American Federation of teachers union representing 60,000 healthcare workers, said the next step should be "enacting legislation that would ban mandatory overtime for nurses and establish appropriate nurse-patient ratios."
The Service Employees International Union, which represents 110,000 nurses nationwide, said federal funding should benefit only nonprofit hospitals, which care for more poor patients and have a greater need for nurses than do for-profit hospitals.
"These are public dollars," said Diane Sosne, a registered nurse in Seattle who co-chairs the SEIU's nurse alliance. "The for-profits have enough money for nurse training; it's just not a priority for them."
By: Kristen Hallam
I see this story is dated 2002. I wonder what happened?
I totally agree with the last 4 paragraphs of this article.
I'd seen numerous articles about Howard Dean supporting changes in working conditions for nurses. So, I googled "Bush nurses" to see what came up.
Mostly, I got results about nurses working in the Australian bush lands, lol.
And this, which did not surpise me.
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