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
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.