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Suit claims state hasn’t hired nurses required under law

July 30, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Democratic senator and two nurses are suing Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration saying it’s violating a law calling for Maine to hire more public health nurses.

The lawsuit filed in state court Monday says Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton isn’t complying with the 2017 law that survived LePage’s veto. The LePage administration declined comment on pending litigation.

The law said Maine shall fill funded public health nursing positions by March 2018. Lawmakers funded 48 nurses, but the lawsuit claims Hamilton’s department isn’t advertising or filling those positions.

The lawsuit claims Maine employs fewer than two dozen public health nurses, down from 50 in 2012.

A 2016 Bangor Daily News report found vacancies in the program serving at-risk mothers and infants in low-income and rural communities.

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