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Nurses Call for Broader Action to Combat Swine Flu: Boost Public Health, Moratorium on Closures, Layoffs, Suspend Insurance Charges that Discourage Prevention
Date:4/29/2009

OAKLAND, Calif., April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's largest organization of registered nurses today called for broader, national action to promote containment and prevention of a broader swine flu pandemic.

While welcoming the Obama administration's call on Congress Tuesday to allocate $1.5 billion for combating the virus, the 86,000 member California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee said more is needed to bolster a healthcare infrastructure badly eroded after years of neglect in the public safety net.

"From SARS to avian flu to the current escalating outbreaks of swine influenza, it has become increasingly clear that we are risking a major catastrophe unless we act to restore the safety net, and devote the resources that are needed to protect the public," said CNA/NNOC co-president Deborah Burger, RN.

The CNA/NNOC action plan includes:

  • Reinstate the $870 million for pandemics that was cut from the economic stimulus bill.
  • Recruit and mobilize teams of scientists to create the appropriate effective vaccine for the virus.
  • Cease and desist any reductions in public health programs at federal, state, and local levels. Lift any freezes on public health funding currently in place.
  • Implement a moratorium on any closures of emergency rooms, layoffs of direct healthcare personnel, and reductions of hospital beds.
  • Allocate funding for recruitment and retention of school nurses, public health nurses.
  • Expand the network of community clinics, especially in medically underserved areas.
  • Add thousands of additional ventilators/respirators, which are critically needed in the event of epidemics.
  • Assure the availability of protective equipment for all healthcare personnel.
  • Require all insurance companies to suspend or waive all out-of-pock
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SOURCE California Nurses Association
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