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Abbreviated LD 1038 passes through Maine Health and Human services Committee

On Tuesday, April 7, my family, friends, nurses, senators and representatives, Union officials, and others testified before the Maine Health and Human SErvices committee. My testimony was allowed in full even though it was very long. Generally there is a 3 minute limit. I took 20 minutes. I needed to be heard. My 13 year old nephew made us all incredibly proud when he stood before the daunting group of committee members at a podium with a microphone and read his testimony. It was against the rules of decorum (no reactions to testimony) but everybody applauded and/or cried when he spoke of his Grampy.
But of course there was opposition. Some of it was reasonable and some of it was just plain stupid, but everybody gets their say. So, we left feeling very confident that our bill would pass.
On April 9, we went back for work sessions. Vanessa Sylvester of Maine State Nurses Association handled the communications between the Maine Hospital association, and the Maine Health Quality forum and me. The communication was fast and quick and we lost out on most of the bill, but we did get Mandated High Risk screening in the State of Maine passed with a unanimous vote from the committee. This is not criticism of Vanessa. She was in a tough spot and worked very hard. Other very valuable pieces of my legislation got lost or transferred over to the other bill that originally was just for reporting of MRSA and C Diff.
My bill was comprehensive and all inclusive. It addressed the most effective approach to MRSA prevention which is Active detection and Isolation. The componants of a good plan are Mandatory screening, Isolation or cohorting, Precautions and decolonization. I got the screening. MSNA and a “consumer” (that’s me) got seats on the MQF committee. We were given until Oct 1 to come up with a solid effective plan for MRSA prevention. This is fine. I will collaborate. I will go to the meetings with an open mind and a lot of knowlege and ideas. But, if we hit a rock wall with ADI, active detection and Isolation and decolonization, I will be back in the Maine legislature next January before the confetti falls to the ground New Years Eve. This is a promise to my father, my family and everybody who advised me and supported my bill. I will not settle for an inadequate plan for MRSA prevention in the State of Maine. In fact I told the director of the MQF, who coincidentally graduated high school with my husband, that together we can come up with the absolute best MRSA prevention program in the country. Then when the Federal CDC wakes up to ever increasing numbers of MRSA victims in our country, they can use our policy as an example for a national policy. That is a lofty goal but a good one.
So the work has just begun. Stay tuned.

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