whistleblower protection

  1. what states have whistleblower protection, i know i should know this but i really don,t thanks
  2. Visit woo 2 profile page

    About woo 2

    Joined: Sep '01; Posts: 54


  3. by   Rustyhammer
    To tell you the truth I don't feel protected at all. Should I "blow the whistle" I feel that my job will certainly be in jeopardy. New Mexico is a "free will" state which means you are free to be fired at any time with or without reason.
    However, I was looking for a job when I found this one and I don't feel as I would hold back if I knew of fraud or simular crimes.
  4. by   -jt
    The nursing unions in NY, led by the New York State Nurses Assoc just got it passed last month, after a 4 yr battle for it.

    You can find all the other states & where they are with the staffing law, mandatory ot law, whistleblower law & many others that affect us by going to the governmental affairs page on the American Nurses Assoc website. Click federal & state
  5. by   -jt
    <Should I "blow the whistle" I feel that my job will certainly be in jeopardy. New Mexico is a "free will" state which means you are free to be fired at any time with or without reason.>

    EXCEPT if you have whistleblower protection laws!!
  6. by   fedupnurse
    New Jersey. Look under CEPA for Conscientious Employee Protection Act. Apparently some of the ramifications can be loss of medicare funding for 6 months, loss of Magnet if you have that lame designation, and unfair labor pratice violations.
    It is a great idea that is very long overdue. I'm not sure what other states have whistleblower protection but there are quite a few that either do have it or are working on it.
  7. by   moonshadeau
    We have whistleblower protection in Wisconsin I believe, however, the information is missing on the WNA site.
  8. by   NRSKarenRN
    from ana government relations....

    click on link below to check out map for which states have passed whistleblower legislation or have introduced state bills.

    federal legislation introduced under medicare regulations,
    bipartisan patient protection act of 2001, s. 1052 , upon passing, would force facilities to loose medicare funds or ability to accept medicare clients upon guilty judgement if facility violates whistleblower provisions.

    whistleblower laws prevent employers from taking retaliatory action against nurses through actions including suspension, demotion, harassment or discharge for reporting improper quality of patient care. across the nation, nurses are speaking out or "blowing the whistle" against workplace conditions that jeopardize patients and staff and they need legal protection. with the restructuring of health care and its cost cutting measures, nurses are frustrated as they try to provide quality patient care while staffing levels, resources and support are often inadequate.

    as part of the american nurses association's (ana) nationwide state legislative agenda, ana, in cooperation with state nurses associations, is promoting strong whistleblower laws on the state level that provide legal protection so nurses can be patient advocates without fear of reprisal. on the federal level, ana has been actively pushing for the enactment of the bipartisan patient protection act of 2001, s. 1052 which includes a whistleblower provision for nurses and other health care professionals.

    in 2002 legislation enacted in md prevents retaliatory action against any individually licensed or certified employee who discloses to a supervisor or board an activity, policy or practice that is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation. ny enacted legislation prevents an employer from taking retaliatory action against an employee who discloses to a supervisor or a public body an activity that constitutes improper quality of care or refuses to participate in that activity. the law also establishes a fund that consists of money received from civil penalties related to this law to be used for improving quality of patient care. whistleblower legislation is also being considered in ct, fl, hi, ia, il, and ri.

    in 2001, whistleblower legislation enacted in or prevents a hospital from taking retaliatory action against nursing staff for disclosure of an activity, policy or practice of the hospital that is in violation of a law or professional standard of practice and that poses a risk to patients. the law also protects the nurse from participating in any activity that the nursing staff believes poses a risk to the patient. wv law prevents retaliation or discrimination against any health care worker who reports wrongdoing or waste or advocates on behalf of a patient in regards to care

    national and state legislation affecting nursing found here:
  9. by   adrienurse
    Although this is a little bit off topic, the following is a prime example of how things can go very wrong for nurses, and how knowing your rights is so important.

    I wonder if any of you are aware of the nightmare that occured
    here in my hometown a few years ago. Below is an unofficial version of what happened. Has been referred to as the Health Sciences Centre Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Incident.

    The facts of this infamous incident have become public only after a publicly funded inquest was done, and the incident is truly frightening -- especially if you are a nurse. A few years ago, the largest tertiary care facility in Winnipeg decided to start a pediatric cardiac surgery program at the HSC. It seems that not a lot reasearch was done in the feasibility of such a venture, and it appears to have been mostly a political move rather than being pased on specific population needs, or available professional support.

    Anyway, a surgeon was recruited from the States with little actual experience, but seemingly based on the fact that he was a graduate of Harvard School of Medicine. It seems that from the start, there were concerns from the OR nurses working with this doctor. Reports or his gross incompetance were widely ignored and, resulted only in a "there, there" attitude from administration. Some nurses were disciplined due to their refusal to work with this doctor, or for voicing concerns directly to him. The specific details that have released of what occured during these surgeries, are truly frightening. The concerns were reported to the local College of Physicians and Surgeons, and did not result in his dismissial. Eventually it was determined that this surgeon was responsible for 12 infant deaths on the operating table. It appears that only when the parents and families of the dead started demanding answers, that the plug was pulled on the program and the surgeon was terminated. Details of the public inquest are available on the net and I will direct anyone there who is interested. Scarry thing is, this Docter was able to return to the States without the incident being on his record, and is presently working in California.
    Last edit by adrienurse on Jul 4, '02
  10. by   fiestynurse
    Whistleblower law for health care workers passed in 2000 in California. California Senate Bill 97 was passed and signed by Governor Gray Davis. This bill extends whistle blower protections to all employees who work in acute care facilities. Under the provisions of this legislation, employees may not retaliate against employees who file complaints regarding unsafe patient care. Violators are subject to fines.


    Suicide note written by Mary Hochman, RN, right before she walked down to Tajiguas beach in California on a September day in 2000 and shot herself in the heart with a .38 caliber revolver:

    " Since I became a whistleblower my entire life has been ruined. I tried to do the right thing to protect my patients. I have no job. I cannot pay my bills. I have no faith in nursing. If a nurse reports wrongdoing to the State her life will be ruined like mine. She will lose her patients, her friends at work, her seniority.
    Medical records can be changed by administrators and no one will do anything. Nurses notes were replaced by a nurse who wasn't even in the building on the stated date. Another nurses notes were destroyed. Is there anyone out there who understands how important it is that nurses be able to report wrongdoing. These nurses must be protected when they report to the state.
    If a nurse cannot protect her patients I do not want to be a nurse. This has taken all hope away from me. I cannot continue to watch my husband and my daughter suffer because I was a whistleblower."

    Mary had reported patient abuse at a nursing home. Because of her, this nursing home was shut down.
    Last edit by fiestynurse on Jul 4, '02
  11. by   adrienurse
    FYI RE: Winnipeg Whistleblowing Incident

    Official Inquest Report:

    Nursing prespective:
    Last edit by adrienurse on Jul 4, '02
  12. by   fedupnurse
    Isn't it scary? We have a cardiologist who lied to a family and said the heart cath procedure went well and he has no disease. Problem was, he never was able to access the artery to do the stinking cath in the first place. Another doc turned him in to adminsitration and he is still on staff to this day. Whistle blowing laws are desparately needed. Isn't it sad that this is the case??? My grandfather was an honest doc who died in 1980. He turns over in his grave on a regular basis. If anyone feels the earth moving in the NYC area, it's just poor Grandpa Jim rolling over in digust again!!!
  13. by   -jt
    <New Mexico is a "free will" state which means you are free to be fired at any time with or without reason.>

    Not exactly - In New Mexico recently, 6 nurses, represented by the American Nurses Assoc legal team, went to court over this because they WANTED to blow the whistle on a physician at their facility & testify for the pts he harmed but the hosiptal was blocking them & retaliating against them. The court sided with the nurses. Story below:

    The American Nurse -
    July/August 2001

    NM Whistleblowers Win In Court

    A New Mexico judge granted a motion to protect six RNs who acted as whistleblowers against a physician whose alleged incompetent and unprofessional actions plaintiffs say led to the death of a patient.

    The six nurses -- all members of the New Mexico Nurses Association (NMNA) -- are either current or former employees of Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, NM. Based on ethical grounds, they testified in support of a lawsuit brought forth by plaintiffs Thomas Smith and Irene Dockray against Lorraine Martinez, DO. Martinez is accused of negligence and incompetence involving Smith's wife, Deborah, who died from sepsis after Martinez allegedly failed to treat her. She also is accused of permanently harming Dockray during a medical procedure.

    ANA had filed an amicus brief in support of the nurses that detailed the importance of the Code of Ethics for Nurses and patient advocacy in the context of nursing practice.

    "The nurses in this case adhered to the profession's Code of Ethics," said ANA General Counsel Alice Bodley. "Under this Code, they are required to stand up, speak out and protect their patients. The judge's ruling is a victory for the workplace advocacy efforts of the ANA."

    Although the parties await a written order, the Hon. Thomas Cornish of the Third Judicial District Court ruled July 6 that he would grant the plaintiffs' motion for rules governing the questioning of nurse witnesses.

    The court specifically ruled that Memorial Medical Center could not require its employed nurses to speak only through -- or with -- hospital attorneys. The court also held the hospital accountable for any retaliation against the nurses, stating that retaliatory action will be considered contempt of court. And, despite objections from the hospital, the judge included a charge nurse under this protective ruling.

    "This case sends a message in New Mexico and throughout the country that nurses can and will stand up and make their concerns known about inadequate or deficient patient care," said NMNA President Judith Dunaway, MSN, RNC, HNC. "The nurses tried to work internally through the hospital system, but that system didn't work. When nurses express concern over inadequate care, their concerns should not be ignored. Now the barriers have been removed that would hinder nurses in New Mexico from speaking out for their patients."

    ANA President Mary Foley, MS, RN, added, "Nurses should never feel that their jobs or licenses are jeopardized because they speak out against poor medical practice or unsafe patient care. It's our responsibility as nurses to advocate on behalf of our patients."

    This ruling not only provides protections for the nurses involved in the case, but also reveals the importance of nurses' ethical requirements and the need for state law and judicial proceedings to protect nurses who speak out on behalf of quality patient care.
  14. by   Youda
    Whisleblower laws are incredibly ineffective. In short, it's a sham. In Missouri where there is a whistleblower law, it has no teeth since the employer will most certainly find some wrongdoing to harass or discharge the nurse "for cause." To tie the emplyer's action to retaliation, you must prove that there is a relationship between your reporting and the "legitimate" reason for their employer's actions against you. Additionally, there is no agency or funding to assist the nurse. In other words, the only recourse is through civil courts and the case is almost impossible to prove. Any witnesses you might have will dummy-up or get amnesia to protect their own jobs. Although nursing unions and organizations are making progress to protect a nurse, we're still very far away from having a voice in protecting ourselves and our patients. In most cases, the nurse fights the battle alone, shunned by coworkers for making waves, and ultimately loses her job and is labelled a "troublemaker" which makes finding a new job more difficult. Been there, done that.