ST. PAUL–(ENEWSPF)–April 18, 2012 – MNA nurses helped make history this week, as Minnesota became the first state to declare criminal neglect of a vulnerable adult a felony while also protecting the rights of healthcare workers.
“I’m so proud of our nurses and the other healthcare workers who stood up, spoke out and made sure our most vulnerable patients are better protected,” said Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) President Linda Hamilton, RN. “This bill was truly a bipartisan and cooperative effort, and a great example of how legislators can reach across the aisle to work together and improve the lives of the people they are elected to represent.”
Gov. Mark Dayton will sign the bill, SF1586, Criminal Felony Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult, into law at 10 a.m. Wednesday inside the State Capitol.
MNA nurses worked closely this winter and spring with Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Health and Human Services Reform Chair Steve Gottwalt, other health care unions and long term care facilities to come to a compromise over strengthening the punishment for those guilty of criminally neglecting a vulnerable adult. The compromise was an effort between all parties to protect the rights of workers in cases of understaffing, while giving the county attorney the right to charge someone who intends to neglect a vulnerable adult with a felony as opposed to a gross misdemeanor. Minnesota is the first state to make this crime a felony while protecting the rights of the workers.
Founded in 1905, the Minnesota Nurses Association represents more than 20,000 nurses in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. It is also a founding member of National Nurses United, which represents more than 170,000 RNs across the United States.
Learn more about MNA at www.mnnurses.org.