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Legal Action

The American Nurses Association pursues legal action and weighs in on legal issues to protect registered nurses and patients and to uphold ANA’s policy positions. ANA has pursued legal remedies to ensure safe nurse staffing, protect nurses’ rights to practice as defined by law, and reduce environmental health hazards, among others.

ANA has responded to these legal issues:

Patients’ Rights/Patient Protection

  • The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission 
    What does teeth whitening have to do with APRN practice? This Issue Brief and APRN Focus column will help you understand.
  • Texas Nurse Whistleblowers 
    ANA raised national alarm after criminal charges were levied against two west Texas nurses who reported a physician at their hospital to the Texas Medical Board for unsafe practices.
    • Fighting for Nurses Who Speak Up for Patients [video]
      The careers and lives of two west Texas nurses were jeopardized when they were prosecuted for reporting a physician at their hospital for unsafe practices. In the end, justice prevailed, with support from the Texas Nurses Association and ANA.
    • Justice is Served: Texas Physician Pleads Guilty (11/8/11) [pdf]
    • Justice Served - Winkler County Sheriff Found Guilty of Retaliating Against Nurses (6/16/11) [pdf]
    • ANA/TNA Media Alert: Not Guilty – Texas Jury Acquits ‘Winkler County’ Nurse (2/11/10) [pdf]
    • ANA and TNA Speak Out Against Wrongful Prosecution of Winkler County Nurses
  • The 2010 Health Reform Law’s “Individual Mandate” 
    • ANA joined five other health care organizations in filing a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the claim that the Affordable Care Act’s minimum coverage provision – which requires most Americans to finance their health costs through insurance – is constitutional.
      • ANA to Supreme Court: 'Individual Mandate' Needed to Make Health Reform Work (01/13/12) [pdf]
      • Amicus Brief (01/13/12) [pdf]
    • ANA filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief challenging various states’ contentions that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional on grounds that it requires individuals to carry health insurance.
      • ANA Files Amicus Brief in Support of Health Insurance Requirement (11/19/10) [pdf]
    • Visit ANA's health care reform page for more information on ANA's work on this important issue.
  • Safe Nurse Staffing 
    ANA filed a lawsuit, along with two state nurses associations, against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enforce standards for nurse staffing as a condition for participation in the Medicare program.
    • ANA’s Safe Staffing Saves Lives® Campaign Secures Victory for Patient Safety
  • California Prison Overcrowding 
    ANA joined an amicus (friend of the court) brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case in support of California inmates seeking a reduction in extreme prison overcrowding so inmates could receive necessary health care and psychiatric services.
    • ANA Commends Supreme Court Decision to Ensure Adequate Health Care in California Prisons

Scope of Practice

 (Ability to provide full range of services defined by law)

  • California School Nurses – Administration of Insulin to Diabetic Students 
    ANA joined its state affiliate, ANA/California, to challenge the California Department of Education’s directive allowing unlicensed volunteer school employees to administer insulin to diabetic students.
    • Nurses Must Have Chance for Input on School Decisions Affecting Nursing Responsibilities, California Court Rules (5/27/14)  [pdf]
    • ANA Calls for Health Protection Measures in California Schools (8/12/13) [pdf]
    • ANA. et al. v. Tom Torlakson as Superintendent of Public Instruction et al. (American Diabetes Assn., Intervener) Fact Sheet - May 2013 [pdf]
    • ANA and National Association of School Nurses Speak Out Against Permitting Unlicensed School Employees to Administer Insulin to California Schoolchildren (8/14/09) [pdf]
    • ANA, ANA/California, and the California School Nurses Organization Win Case Enforcing the California Nursing Practice Act in Administering Insulin to Students with Diabetes in California’s K-12 Public Schools (11/14/08) [pdf]
    • ANA, ANA/California File Lawsuit Against the California Department of Education (10/10/07) [pdf]
  • Iowa Board of Nursing – Ordering and Supervising Fluoroscopies 
    ANA opposed a court ruling that suspended regulations allowing Iowa advanced registered nurse practitioners to order and supervise fluoroscopies, a procedure to view internal body parts.
    • ANA Calls Iowa Decision a Setback for Patients (11/04/11) [pdf]
    • ANA Statement on Iowa Court Decision (11/4/10) [pdf]

Working Conditions

  • Sentosa Nurses (Nurses Recruited from the Philippines) 
    ANA and its New York affiliate filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief to have criminal charges for patient endangerment dropped against the foreign nurses, who left their jobs amid claims of employment contract violations, inadequate training and unsafe staffing conditions.
    • ANA Statement on the Dismissal of the Sentosa Nurse Criminal Case (1/27/09) [pdf]

Environmental Health

  • Coal-fired Power Plant Emissions 
    ANA joined legal action, under the Clean Air Act, to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce more effective and protective pollution control standards for coal-fired power plants that emit hazardous air pollutants such as mercury.
    • EPA’s Proposed Rule to Reduce Hazardous Power Plant Emissions 
      ANA Statement by ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN (6/3/14) [pdf]
    • A Victory for Environmental Health, ANA
    • National Medical And Public Health Groups Sue EPA To Prevent Future Mercury Exposure (6/14/05) [pdf]

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The American Nurses Foundation is a separate charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation does not engage in political campaign activities or communications.

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