Current Issues as of 2-11-16:
Utah’s general legislative session began on Jan. 25th and will last until March 10th . MANY bills may affect either your practice or your health-community life. Please get involved and contact your legislators to promote health and safety in health care in our state!
The Government Relations Committee has reviewed several bills and reached some positions. Please see bill tracker under legislative tab for details. If you wish to read any bill in its entirety, please go to www.le.utah.gov and select bills in left column. Then select 2016 General Session bills, and open section which contains the bill number you are seeking. Double click on the number of the bill and it will come up with the text. You can look under the “Status” heading to see where the bill is; and you can select the option in the far right column to do “Bill Tracking” so any changes will be emailed to you. To select for changes in text or status, you need to go one level farther and select your preferences.
Bills which we are monitoring or currently reviewing include the following list. Note that due to the time required for review, your volunteer committee may not get to a position before final action is taken on the bill.
HB 18 – Medicaid Preferred Drug List Amendments (re psyche drugs)
HB 58 --Hemp Extract Amendments
HB 68 – Post Exposure Blood Testing Amendments
HB 75 –Epilepsy Training in Public Schools*
HB 79 – Non-Patient Cause of Action
HB 94 – Local Funding Options for Public Education*
HB 100 – EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact
HB 105 – Human Trafficking Amendments
HB 114 – Controlled Substance Reporting
HB 221 –Immunization of Students Amendments*
HB 246 – Reproductive Health Amendments
HB 264 – End of Life Options Act
HB 265 – Mental Health Practitioner Amendments*
SB 39 – Medicaid Coverage for Adult Dental Services
SB 56 – Nurse Practice Act Amendments*
SB 58 –Nurse Practitioner Amendments*
SB 130 – Tattoo Removal (re APRNs primarily)*
SCR 9 – Concurrent Resolution on the Public Health Crisis (re pornography)
· Note that the bills marked with asterisks have been on the active review list for GRC. Both GRC and UNA BOD have had the opportunity to review these bills and add comments. There are approximately 24 members have access to the discussion and 6 to 8 GRC members are actively engaged in evaluation.
Nurses! Please go to the Opinion section of The Deseret News (May 9, 2015) and read op-ed article by Kathleen Kaufman regarding the impact that a traumatic injury can have on patients, their families, and their medical insurance. Print out a copy and share it with your state legislators. Whether or not they support healthcare access for the uninsured in Utah, they need to really think about what a traffic accident could do to them, to you, to anyone...
Kathleen Kaufman: Healthy Utah can protect against trauma of medical debt:
Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act reintroduced into Congress! (Call you US Senator and US Representative to get their support!)
ANA Release-RN Safe Staffing Bill-2015
January 7, 2015
Honored Utah Legislator,
The Utah Nurses Association supports access to healthcare for all citizens of Utah.
This will require either the full expansion of Medicaid, or the implementation of the Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan. The limited proposals currently recommended by the Health Reform Task Force will meet the needs only of the uninsured who are ALREADY seriously ill and incapacitated. As professional nurses, we support and encourage prevention and adequate screenings for all of our patients, both those fortunate enough to afford health insurance and those who cannot afford health insurance.
Nurses work very hard to return our patients to the best health possible. Daily we see patients who have multisystem failure due to a lack of prevention, of timely screenings, or of healthcare education. Many of these patients require sophisticated surgery and acute care for advanced cancers. If the patients do not have health insurance, they often cannot afford the necessary follow-up chemo and radiation that are needed to truly eradicate their cancer. Charity care rarely pays for such follow-up care so that many of our patients will ultimately die of their cancer…either quietly in poverty at home, or quietly but expensively in the hospital. This is not right.
Refusing follow-up care for the uninsured is like fixing a multi-course feast and only allowing the attendees to eat the first two courses before shoving them out of the door. But at least the first two courses kept them from starving for a while. Nurses are tired and frustrated at saving lives only to have those lives end prematurely due to insufficient follow-up.
As nurses we recognize firsthand that public health suffers when part of the population cannot access timely healthcare. Do we want someone to prepare our fast food lunch who has a treatable but contagious condition? Do we want a person with Ebola to NOT go to a clinic or provider when their first serious signs appear? Do we want a parent who earns minimum wage to get that current “bug” from their child at school and then pass the bug onto an entire warehouse of employees? These are all real possibilities when a globally traveling society refuses to protect the working poor at home.
Medicaid in this state actually has served as a safety net; most Medicaid recipients stay on Medicaid for less than a year before getting employment-based insurance. Why are we refusing this safety net to the poorest of our citizens? Many of them are working multiple jobs without insurance or access to care.
You, the legislators of this state, CAN change this bleak reality for the citizens of Utah who make less than $19,790 per year (for a family of three) or less than $11,670 per year (for a single adult). We have studied this issue for over two years, our Governor has negotiated with the federal government and received concessions no other states have received. Nurses see the need for change, and we ask you to act now to make a change for the better.
Kathleen Kaufman MS, RN
Immediate Past President
Utah Nurses Association
How to Find
a Bill on Utah’s legislative page:
To review a bill – go online to le.utah.gov ,
Either click on
Bills in the left menu bar then click on 2014 Bills at the bottom of the drop
down menu. On the next page use the links to find the bill number you are
Or use the
search function at the top center. Be sure you have selected 2014 as the year
of the legislative session of interest. Also be sure you have the correct
initials before the number of the bill….HB or SB for most.
Medicaid Expansion --- NOT?
Kathleen Kaufman MS, RN (Past President and Government Relations Chair)
Well, despite over a year of negotiating Medicaid expansion alternatives with the federal government, the Health Reform Task Force has opted to ignore the Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan. Instead they discussed and ultimately voted to support two options which would cover significantly smaller portions of the Medicaid gap population...download
What Might Medicaid Expansion Mean for Utah?
Written by Kathleen Kaufman, President, UNA
As nurses, you have the lived experience of what Medicaid expansion will mean for patients. With this appreciation, I hope you will read on. Let’s look at some background and actual figures.
What is Medicaid?
Download article here: