Health Outlook in DC – Jan 9-13

  

Monday, January 9 – the National Press Club holds a Newsmaker Luncheon address by HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell on the consequences of potential Affordable Care Act repeal

The National Academy of Sciences holds an embargoed release, “Accounting for Social Risk Factors in Medicare Payment“

Tuesday, January 10 – The Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center and the Harvard Global Health Institute hold a symposium on “Pandemic Preparedness in the Next – Administration“

CDC Director Tom Frieden and Indian Health Service Principal Deputy Director Mary Smith hold an embargoed briefing, to discuss a new Vital Signs report on “What approaches from the Indian Health Service can be applied to other populations to reduce kidney failure and prevent diabetes deaths?”

Tuesday and Wednesday, the EPA will review the draft Biologically Based Dose-Response Model for perchlorate in drinking water and a draft model report, “Biologically Based Dose-Response Models for the Effect of Perchlorate on Thyroid Hormones in the Infant, Breast Feeding Mother, Pregnant Mother, and Fetus: Model Development, Revision, and Preliminary Dose-Response Analyses”

Thursday, January 12 – the NIH holds a meeting of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

The Office of Representative Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, hosts a briefing on “Physician Assisted Suicide: Dangers for U.S. Health Care”

Thursday and Friday, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health holds a meeting of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee

Friday, January 13 – AEI, the Pacific Buisness Group on Health, and the Center for Health Policy at Brookings hold a discussion on “Fixing Health Care: Practical Lessons from Business Leaders“ – ANA will be attending this meeting.

The NIH holds a meeting of the NIH Clinical Center Research Hospital Board

The NIH holds a meeting of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

 

Help ANA fight for CRNAs to have full practice authority in the VHA — Deadline for comments is Friday, January 13th!

  

There is still time to fight for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) inclusion in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) final rule during its second public comment period which ends this Friday, January 13. Help us advocate for CRNAs by clicking here to customize and submit a pre-written comment letter which will be sent directly to the VA.

Since its announcement on December 13th, ANA has been highlighting the VA’s groundbreaking rule which would allow nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse-midwives to work independently without physician supervision in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). As the nation’s largest employer of nurses, this rule will allow APRNs full practice authority regardless of state or local law restrictions, but excluded over 900 CRNAs currently employed by the VA. While we commend VA Secretary McDonald and Under Secretary Shulkin for taking this critical step to ensure our nation’s Veterans receive the high quality health care they have earned and deserve, we continue to stress our extreme disappointed that the VA failed to extend full practice authority to CRNAs. Check out ANA’s press release for more background.

ANA has written a letter to the VA urging them to implement and include CRNAs in its final rule. ANA is also co-signing comment letters with the Nursing Community and APRN coalition to aggressively fight for CRNA inclusion in the VA’s final rule. Please join us in advocating for CRNAs by submitting a personal comment letter by Friday, January 13th.

What’s your take on the future of health care coverage?

  

Long before the election, we’ve been asking nurses to share their experiences with lawmakers and with each other. What you’ve seen and learned in the classroom and on the job is the truth of healthcare in America. But ever since the election, news stories on TV and online only want to talk about the political fights around healthcare – not the truth from nurses like you.

That’s why we’ll keep sharing your stories here in Washington – so the new Congress and the new administration see more than the political stakes and the dollar signs.

They need to hear the experiences of nurses like Lisa:

It would be grand if the ACA could be “fixed” to allow truly affordable coverage. I see patients at least once a week without coverage, and I work only with children. Those without are middle class who don’t make enough to afford it and make too much for assistance. I know families without insurance because they can’t afford the premiums. I know those whose jobs have been cut back to part time so employers can avoid offering too expensive health care. – Lisa, MI

And Cindy:

Many of my patients struggle to afford their medications, deductibles are going up as are monthly premiums. I don’t understand why the CEOs of insurance companies get paid such exorbitant salaries while denying coverage for basic diabetes supplies.

I would hope some kind of compromise could be reached in order to continue Medicaid expansion to all 50 states. Since I work in pediatrics, many of my patients are young adults who rely on their parent’s insurance coverage until age 26, so this needs to stay in place. – Cindy, TN

While pundits and politicians debate questions of health insurance in terms of millions of patients, or billions of dollars, they’re missing the vital perspective of nurses who work one-on-one with patients who could lose access to healthcare altogether.

And for nurses like Sarah, it hits even closer to home:

I am a nurse who is caring for my disabled parents and 3 small children. I also have my 24 year old cousin who lives with me. The Affordable Care Act makes sure that half of the members of my household have access to affordable healthcare. It also effects the ability of my patients to have access to mental health care. Please, do not repeal the ACA. You will plummet families like mine into financial crisis. – Sarah, CO

Lisa, Cindy, and Sarah see the struggles of their patients every day. And by sharing their own experiences, they’re helping Washington see more clearly what’s really at stake as the new Congress begins talking about massive changes to our healthcare system.

What have you seen that Washington needs to hear if they’re going to get healthcare right? Leave a comment below to weigh in!