Please Tell Us If You Are Contacting Legislators/ANA, etc. Re: Nursing Concerns - page 5

Hi ALL!! Please see my last post under "Topic--Reply to Barton" and tell us what you think! Should we change over to this forum or not? (Brian, I DID eventually get to post here! LOL!!) ... Read More

  1. by   barton

    THANKS for joining in!! EVERY letter counts, and let's hope they get a lot of 'em, huh?

    Let us know what you hear, OK?

  2. by   TEK
    Just form letter responses so far-I'll keep you posted.
  3. by   BethanyJ
    Barton et al,
    Greetings!!! I haven't been around for quite some time but I am so glad to see the cause continues to roll forward! Thanks to all who've posted additional sites to visit. I'm heading there now. (Better late than never, huh?)I haven't received word from anyone, but will be re-sending emails to my legislators and a new one to the Prez!
    Barton, I have to confess that I know very little about insurances and HMO's. However, I do know from a nursing standpoint that I am fed up with non-healthcare providers determining what my patients need in the terms of healthcare. I left acute care a few years ago and thought I'd find satisfaction in long term care. What I found was even more frustrating! I am day shift charge on a 29 bed rehab/Medicare unit. These patients are discharged from the hospital sooner and in less stable condition than ever before. They require a close monitoring and thorough assessments on a freq. basis as their conditions change quite rapidly. I love this challenge, but it's the other obstacles I detest. Such as staffing...Most often I am the only nurse on this unit and responsible not only for the assessments and keeping the drs/families informed..I also have to do all the meds and treatments, admissions, discharges, pt. teaching, etc. In addition, I only have 2 or 3 cnas to provide the basic care. They work their rears off, but still there are not enough hands to answer all the call lights in a timely basis and I find myself on the floor tending to these needs too.
    Then there's the obstacle of what the insurance providers term unnecessary care. What a laugh. Not long ago, we had a nurses meeting and we were told that we need to watch our hospital transfers because if the patients are not admitted and the insurance doesn't think the hospital eval was necessary, the facility gets the bill! I refuse to keep my patients until they are on the brink of coding before I transfer. If I've assessed them and I feel they need a doctors intervention, they are gone. The other thing we were told was not to get x-rays unless we absolutely are positively sure there is something wrong. Well, to this I have to say forget the administration. They gave the example that if someone falls and there is external rotation or swelling, then an xray is in order. Hello???? If those things are present, I'm not pissing around with a portable xray...the resident is going to the hospital! If someone falls and they have complaints of pain I'm still going to go for an xray order. If they have coughs, fevers, adventitious breath sounds, ditto. I feel I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't investigate to find concrete causes for s/s I've run across in my assessments.
    I am tired of having my job being dictated to me in the terms of profit margin. On day, we had 8 admits in an 8 hour time span. We begged to postpone a few, but the reply was we were taking them all since census was low! Hmmm...and just who was suppose to carry out the regular floor duties with all these new admits coming in? I ended up putting in a 20 hour shift that day and had to report back to the floor 4 hours after I left it.
    It takes me the 8 hour shift plus a few hours (No breaks) to do everything I'm suppose to do and then an additional couple of hours to document it all. There is good news....I hope. I have been copying assignment sheets as well as my report sheets for several weeks. I had a meeting with the DON to voice my concerns about the poor quality of care I'm being forced to deliver. She assured me that they will be hiring a second nurse for my unit to lighten the load. I am hopeful, but won't believe it til I see it.
    Wow, better get off the soap box. Lest anyone misinterpret this as whining, let me say...I don't feel sorry for myself. I feel sorry for my patients who deserve much better than what they are receiving and all because facilities, insurance companies, medical supply and pharmaceutical companies are gathering up so much of the cream they leave nursing so very little $$ and manpower to work with. Patients need to come first...we need to turn the tables here. Instead of punishing the caregivers and those receiving care...why not start looking into and reducing the profit margins of the outside sources????

  4. by   Joe,RN
    This is just great! I have been at several other forums including but it sounds like this forum is more up to speed in trying to get active towards legislation and collective bargaining. I am so very glad that someone spread the word at the other forums. I have been frustrated for so long and bounced in and out of some jobs in hospitals that I really enjoyed. The conglomerates and the HMO's started pushing the edge of more acuity and less pay as well as placing unlicensed personel in our positions working under our licenses. Now I work as an independent contractor so I can be my own boss. At least this way I am in control of acuity and who is working under my license. I am a member of GNA and ANA and MCNA. Like Barton says let's keep this momentum going. I am excited to find some nurses actually doing something about our profession and safety of our patients, rather than just ******** on a message boards. I have always thought that we are foremost, patient advocates! I will tell every nurse I know about this site! This may be my first post here but I assure you it will not be my last!
  5. by   Origcyn13
    Just wanted to let you all know that I have started the ball rolling so to speak where I work. After the most recent incidents of dangerously short staffing, I wrote "incident" reports and a letter to the hospital's administration. I also notified my Unit manager in writing of the situations we are facing.
    Well, it has been a "polite interval" and I have heard from no one. So, out go the letters again. I honestly hope they do not believe I will go away if they ignore me. Not a chance. My patients and the community we as a hospital serve deserve better. Not to mention the nurses I work with.

    Cyn...stiring the mix
  6. by   LAS
    I have been emailing my
    legislatures, the president, the
    vice president and ANA. I will
    be emailing Sylvia Johnson from
    ABC news. I think it is very
    important that the public is made
    aware of the situations that are
    occuring in the hospitals. Maybe
    if people are aware of the
    dangerous situations that lack of
    adequate staffing create perhaps
    there will bea public outcry that
    will help bring about change. I
    find it difficult to understand
    how senior management and
    administration can be so far away
    from the bedside that they do not
    see the serious problems that
    exist. I know that these
    problems are universal to the
    facility that I work in, as
    proven by reading any of the post
    on this board. Please continue
    to post names of people and
    boards that can be contacted to
    help bring about change.
  7. by   BethanyJ
    Hello everyone! Finally received a written response from my senator, who wrote the following in a letter dated April 13, 1999:

    "Remembering your interest in health care reform, I thought you would appreciate an update on the status of this important issue.
    In the past 10 years, there have been fundamental changes in our health care system. Today, 161 million Americans, including over 6.7 million in the state of Michigan, obtain their health care coverage through some form of managed care plan. Though managed care has been credited with putting the brakes on rising health care costs, too many Americans are concerned about the quality of care they receive. I believe it is critical that Congress establish basic patient protections to ensure that patients receive optimal care.
    I am a cosponsor of the Patients' Bill of Rights (S.6) which was introduced on January 19, 1999. This legislation would set federal standards for access and quality for all health care plans. It includes such access provisions as the ability to see an out-of-network specialist when one is needed and greater access to emergency care without the need for a health plan's prior authorization. Under S.6, health plan members would also be able to choose a primary care physician. In particular, women and children would have the option to choose an OB-GYN or a pediatrician as their primary care physician.
    Other provisions in S.6 would hold plans more accountable for the care they provide. The legislation would ban "gag clauses" which prohibit doctors from discussing all treatment options with patients. It would also require health plans to create internal grievance procedures for patients who are not satisfied with the care they receive. Finally, n severe cases, S.6 would provide patients with greater legal recourse when a health plan's policies lead to wrongful death or injury.
    I believe it is critical that we reform our health care system, and I'm disappointed that the 105th Congress failed to enact meaningful patient protection legislation. I am hopeful that this legislation will be top priority during the 106th Congress."

    Best wishes.
    Carl Levin
  8. by   BethanyJ
    I am certain the legislative ears are out there listening to us so please continue to post your letters and emails to them. I could not help but notice that nothing was mentioned in my letter re: Staffing issues. I am convinced that until the legislation steps in with restrictions and mandates, that our employers will continue the present staffing trends. I will reply with a thanks for the concern re managed care and mention that we are still concerned about staffing and patient safety within health care facilities. Hopefully, you will all continue with your efforts. Thanks!
  9. by   BethanyJ
    I am certain the legislative ears are out there listening to us so please continue to post your letters and emails to them. I could not help but notice that nothing was mentioned in my letter re: Staffing issues. I am convinced that until the legislation steps in with restrictions and mandates, that our employers will continue the present staffing trends. I will reply with a thanks for the concern re managed care and mention that we are still concerned about staffing and patient safety within health care facilities. Hopefully, you will all continue with your efforts. Thanks!
  10. by   Sophie
    Hello! It's been a while since my last post, sorry. For those concerned with short-staffing, be aware that if you live in Calif., there is a state assembly bill - AB394- that is written to specifically deal with placing appropriate staffing standards into law. It would help eliminate your administration's ability to work around the existing staffing rules. Please call the author of the bill, Sheila Kuehl at 916-319-2041, or write her at State Capitol,PO Box 942849, Room 3013, Sacramento, Ca. 94249-0001. This is a constructive thing we can do to work within the framework of the established system, instead of just discussing anecdotes (although this is healthy to vent!). As for errors that are made in relation to short-staffing, keep DOCUMENTING! Report any sentinel events to your Performance Improvement Chairperson. Remember, the Dept. of Health and that JCAHO needs to know about these issues, and the more reports and "squeaky wheels' they hear from , the better. Sophie

    [This message has been edited by Sophie (edited May 01, 1999).]
  11. by   barton
    Thanks for the info--I just posted under another topic, asking you for it!
  12. by   Miss RNC
    I emailed my senators and governor of Mississippi this past weekend. I am anxiously waiting for a reply. I enclosed a link to this board and a copy of the proposed California bill. I will keep everyone posted... Lets not give up!
  13. by   barton
    Miss RNC,
    Good for you!----and I hope all of us are sending this California bill to our reps!!??