Des Plaines, IL /PRNewswire/ - This week, 167 members of the Emergency Nurses Association will visit Capitol Hill on May 9 to advocate for legislation on four issues that directly impact emergency care and thousands of nurses nationally.
In particular, ENA urges Congress to pass legislation that would require health care employers to develop comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans; amend current law to provide liability protections against both federal and state civil actions for health care professionals who volunteer during a federally-declared disaster or public health emergency; allow the armed forces to partner with local trauma centers to embed military trauma providers in those facilities; and create a new pilot program to better equip health care professionals to identify and care for victims of human trafficking.
"ENA's annual Day on the Hill is our opportunity to bring forward issues that emergency nurses face every day," said ENA president Jeff Solheim, MSN, RN, CEN, TCRN, CFRN, FAEN, FAAN. "We welcome the opportunity to educate lawmakers while advocating for our profession and our patients on these important topics."
Emergency nurses are asking representatives to support and cosponsor the Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act (H.R. 5223). The bill ensures health care employers who accept payments from Medicare and Medicaid will take specific steps to prevent workplace violence and make the safety of patients and workers a priority. H.R. 5223 also requires health care employers, primarily hospitals and outpatient clinics, to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan.
Enacted in 1997, the Volunteer Protection Act provides limited liability protections in both state and federal courts for most volunteers if they are acting on behalf of a qualified nonprofit or governmental organization. However, this protection does not apply to health care professionals who are willing to volunteer during a disaster or public health emergency outside a formal relationship with a nonprofit or government agency. The Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act (H.R. 1876/S. 781) would amend current law to provide limited liability protection against both federal and state civil actions for licensed health care professionals, including emergency nurses, who volunteer during a federally-declared disaster or public health emergency.
The Military Injury Surgical Systems Integrated Operationally Nationwide to Achieve ZERO Preventable Deaths Act (MISSION ZERO; S. 1022) would create two new grant programs that allow the armed forces to partner with local trauma centers to embed military trauma care providers and military trauma teams into those facilities. This will allow military health care professionals, when they are not deployed, to maintain their readiness by caring for civilian trauma patients. The program will also facilitate the transfer of best practices between military and civilian trauma care providers. MISSION ZERO (H.R. 880) passed the House of Representatives on Feb. 26. ENA is urging action on this bill in the Senate.
Day on the Hill attendees will also ask lawmakers to support and cosponsor S. 256, the Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act. The bill aims improve care for human trafficking victims by creating a new pilot program to better equip health care professionals with the tools to identify victims; provide evidence-based patient care; facilitate communications between victims and law enforcement; and appropriately refer victims to service agencies. The SOAR Act passed the House of Representatives on Feb. 26. As with the MISSION ZERO Act, ENA seeks Senate passage of this important legislation.
Members will meet with legislators and their staff on May 9 during the association's annual Day on the Hill event.
About The Emergency Nurses Association
The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With more than 43,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines, and guides emergency healthcare public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at www.ena.org.
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