Montana Nursing Association wants to join lawsuit against Montana law banning vaccine requirements

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Posted at 10:57 AM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 12:59:31-04

HELENA – The Montana Nurses Association filed a motion Friday to join litigation challenging the recently-enacted House Bill 702, which they said endangers nurses, undermines safe working conditions in healthcare, and interferes with the provision of high-quality healthcare in Montana.

The motion to intervene follows the recent lawsuit filed in federal court by a coalition of doctors, healthcare clinics, and patients seeking to limit the reach of HB702 in hospitals and doctor offices.

MNA’s motion, filed under the same case number, would extent that relief to all healthcare settings in Montana where nurses work, according to a press release.

HB702, enacted during the 2021 legislative session, limits the ability of employers in healthcare settings to provide accommodations to workers and patients based on their vaccine statues.

The MNA argues that HB702 will create serious risks for healthcare workers and their patients, regardless of whether they are immunocompromised or not.

“Nurses are Montana’s frontline healthcare providers, and we have a professional commitment and ethical duty to ensure that Montana nurses are safe at work and can focus on what they care most about: providing high quality safe healthcare to our patients,” Vicky Byrd, MSN, RN, CEO of the Montana Nurses Association, said in the press release.

“Immunizations are not new to nurses and other healthcare professionals.” Byrd continued. “Immunization is one of the many ways we have practiced safely in all healthcare environments. HB 702 compromises the safety of patients and the safety of the nurses and healthcare providers.”

MNA’s suit claims that:

  • HB702 does not just target COVID-19 vaccines, but applies to ALL vaccines including those against largely eradicated diseases in the United States.
  • The suit is not designed to allow employers to fire healthcare workers who are unvaccinated, but rather allows healthcare settings to make reasonable accommodations that HB702 prohibits.

MNA’s suit was filed before the Judge Donald Molloy at the US District Court in Missoula, where the doctors’ and patients’ case is currently pending.