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May Update for Interim Session at the Utah State Legislature

The Interim Session began May 18th at the State Capitol.  We have been invited to join the discussion on state-wide policies regarding misuse of narcotics…We have accepted and Kathleen Kaufman and CJ Ewell will be working on this issue with Kathleen attending as many meetings as possible. On the 18th, the full HHS Committee meeting consisted of information presented on extant policies and practices regarding prescriptions of narcotics. Many notes were taken and will be shared in part, at least, with any interested persons. Let Kathleen know of your interest.

A second issue to be addressed by the GRC is consideration of the suggested language and legal changes in the Nurse Compact Act. This is based on recent work by the NCSBN and still is at odds with ANA position on the topic.  Diane Forster Burke is taking the lead on this discussion. She is following up on the possible need for proposed legislation in order to update our Nurse Compact Act if we decide this is the way to go. We need to work on this in a timely way so we can get a legislator to sponsor the bill and help us with language changes if needed.

A recurrent issue is the evolution of the required training of school volunteers in the administration of seizure rescue medications. We have been invited to participate in the discussion and planning for this training. In the interest of following through on the rather incomplete requirements in the statute, Kathleen Kaufman  attended the first meeting of this group at the Department of Health on May 20th and she will be working with the group putting together language for teaching modules on giving rescue meds.  The new school nurse liaison in the DOH is Betty Sue Hinkson, a school nurse who clearly understands the implications of giving these meds in a school setting.  Diane Forster Burke notes that this is another opportunity for us to work towards more school nurses based partly on the article on Park City’s denying diabetic students adequate care which recently ran in the Salt Lake Tribune.

We are starting planning for Nurses Day at the Legislature, in February 2017 during the next general session and we are also taking part in planning the advocacy workshop for our conference in October. Just starting, but have good ideas.  

That’s all for now……get in touch with the UNA office if you want to work on any of these issues.




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 ,

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 interested in. 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

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:

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