Monthly Archives: February 2016

New Hope for Nurse Practitioners in Michigan

Yesterday, a bill easing restrictions on Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) was slated to be introduced to the Michigan House of Representatives by Ken Yonker (R) from District 72. Michigan suffers from a critical shortage of primary care practitioners, with over 300 federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) covering practically the entire state. Only two states have a greater number of primary care HPSAs – California and Texas. Both California and Texas have significantly larger populations and land mass. What can we infer from this? It’s pretty bad in Michigan. For a map of all HPSAs in the US click here:
http://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov/Tools/MapToolQuick.aspx?mapName=HPSAPC

A previously introduced bill was rendered practically moot by significant lobby activity by the Michigan State Medical Society. Arguing that allowing APRNs greater autonomy would put patients at risk, the MSMS was able to dilute the provisions of Senate Bill 68 significantly enough to make it resemble their version of what it should say.  Knowing that a host of studies, meta-studies, and two Cochrane reviews have demonstrated APRN care to be equal to that of primary care physicians in terms of outcomes, safety, and patient satisfaction, this argument is patently false. APRNs only practice within the scope of their training and licensure, and have many more years of clinical training, ethics education, patient interaction and experience than do Physician Assistants. There is no parallel.

Nurses have to get on board with this effort and ensure that, this time, this legislation is not thrown off-course by powerful lobby interests. We owe it to the citizens of the state of Michigan to enhance our residents’ access to affordable, quality health care. Michigan is one of only about 6 states in the entire USA to continue the highest level of restrictions on APRN practice. Get involved! Say something! Do something! At the very least, contact your Representatives and Senators to support Rep. Ken Yonker’s effort to bring greater health access to Michigan’s medically underserved. Frankly, the situation is downright unethical… Please send a thank you to Rep. Yonker at the very least and tweet your support to @MIHouseGOP.

 

 

 

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Innovation and Diversity – Why the US MUST Welcome All Immigrants

A team of biomedical engineers working in Germany has developed a low-cost alternative for skin sensor technology which would make this application widely available at little expense. A brief description of their work was provided by the lead researcher:

The sensor, which is called Paper Skin, performs as well as other artificial skin applications currently being developed while integrating multiple functions using cost-effective materials.

Wearable and flexible electronics show promise for a variety of applications, such as wireless monitoring of patient health and touch-free computer interfaces, but current research in this direction employs expensive and sophisticated materials and processes.

“Our work has the potential to revolutionize the electronics industry and opens the door to commercializing affordable high-performance sensing devices,” stated Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, KAUST associate professor of electrical engineering from the University’s Integrated Nanotechnology Lab, where the research was conducted.

“Previous efforts in this direction used sophisticated materials or processes,” Hussain continued. “Chemically functionalized inkjet printed or vacuum technology-processed papers — albeit cheap — have shown limited functionalities. Here we show a scalable ‘garage’ fabrication approach using off-the-shelf and inexpensive household elements.”

Speaking on behalf of the team, Muhammad Mustafa Hussain described their revolutionary and humanitarian approach. Taking a wild guess, I do not believe his grandparents came from Germany. It is of note that Germany has one of the most liberal immigration policies in Europe, and over great protest Germany’s Angela Merkel refuses to shut the door to fleeing Syrians refugees. Perhaps she knows people like Professor Hussain.

Politicians have made bold and provocative statements about “building a wall between the US and Mexico” and “not allowing ANY Muslim immigrants” to enter the US. These are inflammatory statements designed to provoke fear among the public, and do much more harm than good. As nurses, we have an ethical obligation to speak out and speak up for the oppressed, underprivileged, underserved, and excluded. It’s time. If you don’t want to speak up, at least make your voice heard as you make your way to vote. We cannot permit our country to be run by extremist fear-mongers.One such notable political leader in Germany’s past was named Adolf Hitler. Is this really the path we want to follow? I prefer Angela Merkel’s approach.

 

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Afraid of the Zika virus? Is it worth missing the Olympics?

Hope Solo (above), star goalie of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team recently announced that she had overwhelming concerns about the Zika virus threat in Brazil and that, “If I had to make a choice today, I wouldn’t go…”

In the meantime, mosquito repellent is hard to find in Brazil, and is purchased and stockpiled almost immediately after it becomes available. People are scared. Fear is a powerful emotion. The CDC has issued recommendations for pregnant women including a warning to consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

The full CDC recommendations regarding Zika and pregnancy are here:

http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/question-answers.html

What do WE need to know as nurses? The American Nurses Association has just created an entire webpage to help nurses inform themselves and dispel mis-placed fear and just plain bad information. They have posted it on Facebook and are asking us as nursing professionals to share with colleagues and with the public. This excellent resource can be found here:
http://nursingworld.org/zika-virus-information

So why didn’t I use the Facebook image from the ANA?

As we learn more about the Zika virus, nurses must be America’s first line of defense against both the spread of the…

Posted by RN Action on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

well…although I didn’t probably a lot more people will recognize Hope Solo. It’s all about getting the word out. Let’s help people understand their risks and not let fear and panic spread unchecked. Thanks, ANA!

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Standing Strong Together: E-Sisters and Asheville96

The distress caused by problems with Essure cannot be overemphasized. The link below contains a significant amount of resources to share with those who have been hurt:

 

 

The most important thing to do is to REPORT the side effects and add to the data base and evidence that is being used to remove this product from the market.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Essureproblems/permalink/1117765924921786/

An update from the Asheville96 is below:

We have endured another emotional week here in Asheville. To say things have settled would be a gross overstatement, but there have been significant developments in our situation. Mission Health System and our current employer, AllCare Clinical Associates, have agreed to an extension of our contract through July 31st, in order to assist with a transition that would better meet the needs of our patients.

Included in the agreement of a contract extension, a non-solicitation clause was lifted, allowing the hospital to approach us regarding employment, again to better meet the needs of our patients here in WNC during the transition.

Now that we can openly explore employment options with Mission Health System, we sincerely hope that dialogue will open up that could result in a mutually acceptable agreement regarding certain details of our employment. Recent history has demonstrated that in a transition such as ours, all parties involved eventually sit down and try to reach an acceptable agreement. Unfortunately, these discussions often take place after much disruption, displacement, and financial loss. We strongly believe if there could be dialogue between CRNAs and Mission Health now — and not 6 months from now– the outcome would be more favorable for CRNAs, hospital administration, surgeons, and most importantly, our patients.

The CRNAs are extremely unsettled and unsure of what our future holds. Many of us are actively searching, applying, and interviewing for employment outside of Western North Carolina. While we have remained committed to the safety and well-being of our patients throughout this difficult 6 weeks, we are now realizing that we must make decisions based on what is best for our families. We desperately want to stay in Asheville, but fear our quality of life and time spent with our families is in grave danger. While we are faced with these difficult decisions and in hopes that we will open dialogue with hospital administration, we ask that you continue to respect our position and give us time and space to hopefully reach a mutual agreement.

Please continue to follow these issues and lend them your voice and your support. Together, we are making a difference in the world.

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In Defense of Women: Support the E-Sisters

The image above is an ultrasound of Essure implants in fallopian tubes. What’s wrong with that? Essure implants have resulted in an enormous amount of harm to a significant number of women. So much so, that these women banded together to form the E-Sisters, taking their complaints to Washington and threatening a hunger strike if nothing was done about it!

They have had some success. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R – Pennsylvania) introduced a bill calling for the removal of Essure from the market. It is important to note that Essure received pre-market approval from the FDA, making Bayer (the manufacturer) immune from lawsuits and litigation. Hmmmmm…… Kudos to Congressman Fitzpatrick! Find out more about it here:

http://www.drugwatch.com/2015/11/04/essure-fight-taken-to-congress/

On another front, on 02/01/2016 it was announced that the FDA has “initiated a review” of Essure after thousands of women complained of severe side effects. This story is below:

Outcry over Bayer Essure Inc (NASDAQ:CPTS)’s birth control side effects prompts review by The FDA

#WhatWouldFloDo? Give Congressman Fitzpatrick props for introducing this important legislation.  Tweet him a , “way to go” @RepFitzpatrick ! Support the E-Sisters and their cause at #SupportE-Free, #Essure, and http://essureproblems.webs.com/

Let us unite with these women in protecting our reproductive health!

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Patient’s Rights to their Medical Information: Update 2016

There is confusion regarding how and in what form patients are guaranteed access to their medical information. One thing is sure – gone are the days when patients were told, “the doctor does not want to release that to you, you would not understand it anyway…”. But what must be released and how? For an update, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services page on Health Information Privacy here:

http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/access/index.html

This is important information for providers, patients, and nurses as we are increasingly called upon to help patients navigate complex records systems and online sources of health information.

As nurses, we advocate for patients and patients’ rights. Their right to their own medical information is codified, and inviolable. We owe it to ourselves to stay current.

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