WSNA in OIympia #

We stay on top of issues and bills in that impact the nursing profes­sion, health care and collec­tive bargaining. Through regular updates and oppor­tu­ni­ties to partic­i­pate in the polit­ical process, WSNA helps nurses stay informed and have a say in the decisions that impact your practice. 

WSNA's priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session #

Budget priorities

School nurse funding #

Increase funding for nursing hours to safely reopen schools. Nearly half of Washington schools have a nurse onsite less than one day a week. School nurses are being called on to lead COVID-19 infec­tion preven­tion and mitiga­tion proto­cols, provide daily symptom checks and collab­o­rate with their local public health depart­ments – in addition to their regular duties. Some wealthier districts have hired COVID-19 response teams with roles defined by OSPI, led by the school nurse; funding should be provided to increase school nursing hours and to allow districts to have equitable access to quality COVID-19 response teams. Schools must be provided appro­priate and safe levels of PPE for all staff and students.


Public health funding #

For 20 years, we have asked the legis­la­ture to find a dedicated and sustain­able public health funding stream. The time is now. Our country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we need to rebuild our national, state and local public health systems.


Nurse education funding #

Preserve the state’s invest­ment in nursing faculty in commu­nity and technical college schools of nursing. The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need to graduate more highly skilled nurses, and this funding is critical to recruiting and retaining nurse educators.


Policy priorities

Health system transparency #

As state and federal govern­ments pour money into hospi­tals and health care facil­i­ties amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little ability to track how this funding is being distrib­uted and dispersed. Hospi­tals have blamed pandemic-related actions for revenue loss which has resulted in employee layoffs and furloughs, but hospi­tals have failed to provide data to support that asser­tion. Even before the pandemic, it was hard to track the adequacy and efficacy of health system charity care and commu­nity benefit. Hospi­tals have not provided data to show whether these programs are working as intended to address commu­nity health needs and to reduce health dispar­i­ties felt most acutely by commu­ni­ties of color. The pandemic has also highlighted the need for clear, trans­parent reporting of health care facility PPE levels and testing capacity to ensure worker and patient safety across the state.


Worker protections and workplace safety #

It is imper­a­tive that the legis­la­ture support the Worker Protec­tion Act and improve workplace safety, partic­u­larly for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. The pandemic has identi­fied policies that can be improved to ensure worker safety, such as employer-provided PPE, testing, paid sick leave, workers compen­sa­tion coverage and protec­tion against retal­i­a­tion. Addition­ally, the Worker Protec­tion Act provides a way for workers to effec­tively raise safety complaints and to have them addressed in a timely, just manner by giving workers and their advocates the ability to enforce labor and anti-discrim­i­na­tion laws on behalf of the state when the state is unable to do so itself. This is especially critical for enforce­ment of existing labor and workplace protections.


Racial equity and justice #

Racism is as much a public health emergency as the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time for the legis­la­ture to delib­er­ately work to undo systems founded on oppres­sion and to replace them with budget and policy decisions that lift up commu­ni­ties of color. Within the health care space, we must remove systemic barriers to accessing health care. We must also work within our profes­sional capacity to recog­nize and address bias and to ensure all patients are being listened to and heard. The current pandemic is having a dispro­por­tionate impact on the health of commu­ni­ties of color. These commu­ni­ties are contracting COVID-19 and dying at higher rates than their white counter­parts. Commu­ni­ties of color are also experi­encing a larger economic impact, including greater rates of job and health insur­ance loss. The public health crises of coron­avirus and racism are insep­a­rable. As the legis­la­ture moves to address the COVID-19 pandemic, it should work with equal deter­mi­na­tion to address systemic racism in all areas of state policy.

Advocacy toolkit #

Legislator voting record
#

The 2020 Legis­lator Voting Record was devel­oped based on priority bills that WSNA supported during the 2020 state legisla­tive session. Not all WSNA priority bills were voted on in both chambers, which is why the bills lists differ from Senate to House. As the voting records indicate, most nursing issues have bipar­tisan support in Olympia.

Find your voting district
#

Look up bill information on the legislature’s website #

News #

It’s National Public Health Week (or should it be year?)

The national theme for Public Health Week 2021 is “Building Bridges to Better Health,” a recognition that making communities safe and healthy is public health’s top priority and that COVID-19 has made that even more important.

Update on public health restructure legislation

Both the Washington State Senate and House of Representatives released their budget proposals in late March – and both provided significant new funding for Foundational Public Health Services.WSNA and the Washington State Medical Association issued a joint statement to budget leadership on March 28.

WSNA in Olympia: 2021 Legislative Session Week 10

This was the tenth week of the 2021 legislative session. Committee hearings continued this week ahead of the March 26 cutoff when policy bills must be voted out of committee in the opposite chamber.