Cuts in Public Health May Cause Danger to Children, Say Ventura County RNs Who Plan Protest Thursday
For Immediate Release
June 22, 2011
Nurse Rallies to Heal America in San Diego, Ventura, Northern Los Angeles Counties Coincide with National Wall Street Protest
A Ventura County children’s program called First 5 which provides care to an at-risk population of children up to age five, has been seriously compromised with the elimination of the five public health nurse positions who provided the care. Ventura County RNs say that this will significantly delay needed care and put children at risk. On Thursday, the nurses, who are represented by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, plan to protest the cuts.
The Ventura County Budget adopted by the Board of Supervisors for 2011-12 cuts its health care agency’s public health budget by 10.4 percent and the mental health budget by 10.9 percent. The county has a high foreclosure rate of one per 239 properties. (Note: To be in the ‘high’ category, a county must have had a foreclosure rate higher than one in 700 properties.)
Health conditions local nurses identified as linked to the current prolonged economic decline include stress-induced heart ailments in younger people, and adult diseases now found in children which include pancreatitis due to high-fat diets linked to low incomes; a range of gastrointestinal disorders, such as colitis; increased obesity, mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders, in youth populations; and higher and more severe asthma rates and increased premature births.
The cuts in public health nurse positions for the First 5 Program will mean that there are no longer RNs to assess the medical needs of the patients and make the proper referrals in a timely manner. The program is now staffed by educators, so if there is a medical need patients will now have to be referred to a nurse for assessment then referred to the program that would apply. Overall, this will cause a delay in meeting the medical needs of these high risk families which could prove to be harmful if they are serious in nature.
“We care for an underserved population where unemployment and lack of healthcare is causing increasing alcoholism, domestic violence, and increased stress,” said Ventura County public health nurse Brenda Gray, RN. “I just came from a home with a diabetic mother with no healthcare coverage and an obese three year old. We are caring for sicker patients with fewer and fewer resources.”
What: Ventura County RNs Protest Public Health Cuts
When: Thursday, June 23, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Where: Corner of Victoria and Telephone, Ventura
The Southern California protests coincide with an action in New York City Wednesday by NNU nurses calling for a tax on financial transactions—the buying and selling of stocks, bonds, derivatives, credit default swaps, ( 401-k and first issuances of Treasury bonds are excluded). The revenue from the Wall Street tax would raise hundreds of billions of dollars annually, revenue critical in creating jobs and supporting bedrock social insurance programs.
The nurse protests are a part of a national campaign, the Main Street Contract for the American People to address the erosion of living standards and protections for families and future generations. The Main Street Contract calls for:
- Jobs at living wages to reinvest in America.
- Equal access to quality, public education.
- Guaranteed healthcare with a single standard of care.
- A secure retirement with the ability to retire in dignity.
- Good housing and protection from hunger.
- A safe and healthy environment.
- A just taxation system where corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.
The Wall Street action is part of an International Day of Action called by European unions which is part of a worldwide campaign to make the corporate finance sector pay to rebuild the global economy . The United Kingdom already has what is called a Financial Transaction Tax, and the proposal was endorsed this week by the French National Assembly and the Brazilian Congress. The protests this week are intended to press all the European Union member nations to adopt the fee.