California Public Health RNs to Picket Supervisors Over Drastic Health Cuts

CALIFORNIA–(ENEWSPF)–October 10, 2011.  Fresno County public health nurses will picket outside a meeting of the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, to protest drastic cuts in public-health nursing that they say represent a disgraceful abandonment of the most vulnerable and at-risk patients in the county.

What: Public Health RNs Protest Health Service Cuts
When: Tuesday, October 11, 1 p.m.
Where: Board of Supervisors Building, East Entrance, 2281 Tulare St., Fresno

In the past few years, the number of public health registered nurses in Fresno County has already been slashed in half, more than any other county department.

Now, the county is demanding even more draconian reductions, says the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. The county is insisting on additional major reductions, including cuts of up to one-fourth of the RNs’ compensation.

What makes the reductions even more deplorable, say the RNs, is that the health programs are funded almost entirely by state and federal grants, with virtually no cost to the county.

Among the services provided by public health RNs are vaccinations, protective service programs for children in their first five years of life, efforts to reduce infant mortality, especially among African Americans, and children’s protective services.

“The message is clear. Fresno County is willing to abandon thousands of low-income, vulnerable, and at-risk families, especially women and children, who are the primary recipients of public health services,” said CNA Co-President DeAnn McEwen, RN. “Such cuts are not only unnecessary— they save almost no money now and will cost more in long-term problems down the road.”

“With the ongoing economic crisis, growing numbers of families are falling through the cracks. Those who are most affected by these public health programs rarely have access to other services,” said McEwen. “The last thing our society should be doing is sacrificing our children and the most vulnerable and at risk among us.”