National Nurses United

Registered Nurse March 2008

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TOC:2 3/17/08 2:16 PM Page 2 LETTER FROM THE COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS it's always terrible to meet patients who can't access the healthcare they need, but it really gets downright absurd when nurses and other healthcare workers can't receive the treatments and care they provide for a living. That's the situation of Tina Marino, an ICU RN living in Phoenix. She's 28, doesn't smoke, and is generally healthy, but suffers from chronic constipation brought about, she thinks, by completely confusing her body when she started working night shift as a new nurse some years back. She's working for an agency right now that doesn't provide health insurance, and is having a heck of a time finding coverage in the individual market because of her condition. Right now she's uninsured and has to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket whenever she needs medical attention, like she did this winter. It shouldn't be this way. Tina can only shake her head when she thinks how ridiculous it is that she would be driven to financial ruin if she were to need the bedside care she gives her patients every day. And she's just one of more and more insurance horror stories we're receiving from healthcare providers through our website, The bottom line you draw from reading all of these patient experiences is that private health insurance just doesn't work. People need services, but the system's set up for insurance companies to spend as little as possible on them in order to maximize their profits. That's why they deny treatments, jack up premiums and deductibles, reject applicants they view with the slightest measure of health REGISTERED NURSE,™ (ISSN 1932-8966) The Journal of Patient Advocacy, March 2008 Volume 104/2 is published by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. It provides news of organizational activities and reports on developments of concern to all registered nurses across the nation. It also carries general coverage and commentary on matters of nursing practice, community and public health, and healthcare policy. It is published monthly except for combined issues in January and February, and July and August. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Registered Nurse, 2000 ™ Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announcement, fax (510) 6630629. Registered Nurse™ is carried on the CNA/NNOC website at risk. It's also a reason why forcing Americans to buy health insurance, which has been proposed at the national and state levels, is a foolish move. For more on the motivations behind the "individual mandate" to buy insurance, check out CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro's column in this issue. Through our stories, we're going to keep hammering this point home until we convince the country that the easy, simple solution would be to adopt a single-payer system, like expanding Medicare for everybody. Moving to another issue close to nurses' hearts, CNA/NNOC members staged a historic rally in Phoenix February to drum up support for a ratio bill pending in Arizona. As one RN said on the bus, "I don't think Arizona's seen anything like that!" It's not just Arizona. Ratios are sweeping the nation. CNA/NNOC currently has ratio legislation efforts under way in nearly half a dozen states. Check the news briefs for a breakdown on what's happening where. We can't mention everything in this issue, but if you've ever met the inimitable Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD and our National Chief Director of Nursing Practice and Patient Advocacy, or taken one of her classes, you'll enjoy reading the profile we're running this month in celebration of her 65th birthday and all the good work she's done for nurses, patients, and CNA/NNOC. Until next time. Deborah Burger, RN | Geri Jenkins, RN Malinda Markowitz, RN | Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee also produces California Nurse, which it will ™ continue to publish periodically. PLEASE CONTACT US WITH YOUR STORY IDEAS They can be about practice or management trends you've observed, or simply something new you've encountered in the profession. They can be about one nurse, unit, or hospital, or about the wider landscape of healthcare policy from an RN's perspective. They can be humorous, or a matter of life and death. If you're a writer and would like to contribute an article, please let us know. Our contact information is in the masthead. executive editor Rose Ann DeMoro editor Lucia Hwang associate editor Erika Larson graphic design Jonathan Wieder communications director Charles Idelson contributors Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD photography Jaclyn Higgs, Lauren Reid

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