State Roundup: Nurses Press For Broader Responsibilities

A selection of health policy stories from California, New York, Maryland and Texas.

The Washington Post: Nurses Can Practice Without Physician Supervision In Many States
For years, nurses have been subordinate to doctors — both in the exam room and the political arena. But aided by new allies ranging from AARP to social workers to health-policy experts, nursing groups are pressing ahead in a controversial bid to persuade state lawmakers to shift the balance of power (Aizenman, 3/24).

Baltimore Sun: Bill Would Offer More Protection To Pregnant Workers
When Peggy Young became pregnant with her third child, she said a supervisor told her she was a liability and not to come back to work as a UPS package delivery driver in Landover [Md.] until she had the baby … Her midwife had written a letter saying she couldn't lift more than 20 pounds, but Young said she was willing to do her regular duties if management wouldn't give her less strenuous work. Young sued UPS six years ago for discrimination and to recoup money for lost health benefits the company denied her while not working, but lost. Most recently, judges in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against her in January, saying there was no discrimination. Young plans to petition the Supreme Court, but in the meantime, her case caught the eye of Maryland lawmakers who hope to remedy the problem at the state level (Walker, 3/22).

The Associated Press: Calif. Wants Control Of Prison Mental Health Care
Nearly two decades after a court takeover of California's prison mental health system, a federal judge is set to consider this week whether the billions of dollars invested by California taxpayers have improved conditions enough that he can return control to the state. Gov. Jerry Brown has aggressively moved to end the long-running lawsuit (3/23).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: NY Town Eyes Hospital Reopening Months After Sandy
Of the more than half-dozen hospitals in the New York area forced to close because of damage from Superstorm Sandy, only one has yet to reopen, idling hundreds of workers for months and forcing thousands of residents to travel farther for emergency health care (3/23).

Baltimore Sun: Fort Meade VA Outpatient Clinic Advances Effort To Serve Women Veterans
When retired Master Sgt. Sheryl A. Webb left the U.S. Army in 1997, she was scarcely aware of services that U.S. Veterans Administration hospitals offered specifically for women. That was well before women became the fastest growing demographic group within the U.S. veteran population, and before VA hospital officials made a concerted effort to get the word out about its women's services. On Friday, Webb marveled as she walked through the Women Veteran's Clinic inside the new $4.7 million Fort Meade VA Outpatient clinic. … The clinic provides veterans with outpatient medical care, preventive health and education services, screenings, social work and mental health clinics, as well as referrals to specialized programs and inpatient services (Burris, 3/24).

The Texas Tribune: Communities, State Lawmakers Take Aim At Obesity Rates
With obesity rates still soaring in parts of the state, lawmakers and local communities are looking at ways to combat the health crisis, especially among the state's fast-growing Hispanic population (Zaragovia, 3/25).

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