Local lawmakers share opinions on MNA’s lobbying agenda

2024 Legislative Priorities

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(ABC 6 News) – With Minnesota’s legislative session just days away, lawmaker and advocacy groups are making it clear what their priorities will be in 2024.

That includes nurses who are once again asking the legislature to address accountability and work place safety.

The Minnesota Nurses Association wants to see policy that holds non-profit hospital executives accountable while improving workplace safety for staff.

Democrats in the Rochester-area are pushing for greater accountability from non-profit healthcare, while Republicans say there are greater healthcare needs to address.

“This year, with it being a policy session, we’re really focused on working with our legislative partners to increase transparency and accountability in our healthcare system, specifically transparency on reporting of non-profit healthcare systems financial status,” said Chris Rubesch, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Senator Liz Boldon (DFL) is in agreement with MNA’s ask of transparency from non-profit healthcare. But her bill with MNA’s support is working to make sure those safety concerns in-particular are addressed.

“The statistics are shocking actually the number of nurses who are injured on the job and so as a nurse myself I see this in my work. And I am glad that we are, have a bill to address this,” said Boldon.

Representative Andy Smith (DFL) supports MNA’s wishes as well, however, he homes in on another part of the healthcare system: showing more accountability in both for-profit and non-profit hospitals.

“Just to bring more light upon service closures in hospital systems, whether it’s again for profit or non-profit to make sure that, especially rural hospitals. Wards aren’t closing without people knowing why and understanding the reasons behind that,” said Smith.

As for Republican Senator Carla Nelson and Representative Duane Quam, they will focus on what needs to be addressed around the growing desert of rural healthcare support.

“I know how important those nurses are, but I also know that it’s important that we get the nurses that are needed to the patients, where they are and doing that through a committee process will not do that,” Nelson said.

“We need to try and address is accessibility and how can we better provide care to those who don’t have options and are in need,” added Quam.

The one thing all sides see eye-to-eye on is creating policies that lead to a stronger healthcare system across Minnesota once the legislative session starts on Monday morning in St. Paul.