Throughout the summer, ANA has been fortunate to host several advocacy opportunities for nurses in Washington, D.C. As we know, when nurses speak, Washington listens. By creating organized advocacy days and partnering with nursing students and fellows, ANA is continuing to reinforce communication channels for nurses to share their stories with policymakers in the Capitol, and make their voices heard.
In June, ANA held its annual Hill Day, where nearly 300 nurses came to D.C. to advocate for their profession. As we know, there are many issues nurses care about, but for this year’s Hill Day, we focused on three key topics:
Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2021 (S.3018/H.R. 3173):
This legislation would protect patients from unnecessary delays in care by streamlining and standardizing prior authorization under the Medicare Advantage program. The legislation would also ensure that nurses and other practitioners no longer need to obtain pre-approval for medical treatments or tests before delivering care to their patients. We also have a very exciting update about this bill! Recently, the House Ways and Means Committee considered this legislation and passed it out of committee. The next step is now the U.S. House floor for a vote!
While official bill text has not been introduced in Congress yet, ANA and our nurse advocates have been working hard on legislation that would allow APRNs to exercise their full practice authority in the Medicare program. The goal of this legislation is to remove burdensome administrative barriers for all four APRN roles to deliver care to their patients.
The Value of Nursing:
While ANA, and of course nurses, have always known that nurses bring knowledge, expertise, and value to health care, the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the crucial role nurses play in delivering care for the rest of the country. Now more than ever, we need policymakers to support nurses in the workforce. ANA and nurse advocates pushed for Congress to prohibit mandatory overtime and pass legislation to prevent workplace violence.
Our nurse advocates shared their personal stories as well as important information with their elected officials about these issues, making sure that legislators and staff were informed and acting on behalf of nurses.
In July, ANA held its Minority Fellowship Program Hill Day, where nurses learned to advocate for both their profession and their patients to create a more equitable and diverse healthcare system. The MFP fellows educated lawmakers about APRNS and the value of nursing.
The fellows were able to meet with their legislators both virtually and at the Capitol, and even met with Representative Lauren Underwood (IL) on the steps of the Capitol. Representative Underwood is a fellow nurse and fierce advocate for the profession in Congress, making this meeting even more exciting!
A few weeks later, ANA hosted nursing students from James Madison University who are pursuing their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and two fellows from the prestigious David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship to exchange ideas and discuss key issues facing nursing before they went to the Capitol to speak with their legislators.
In August, the legislative calendar is typically lighter, but ANA will not be taking a break. In fact, ANA was recently awarded the 2022 Power of Associations Silver Award for Leveraging the Association to Enhance ANA’s Voice as the Advocacy Champion for Nurses During COVID-19 and Beyond! This shows that ANA and its members are being noticed for our advocacy efforts.
While ANA has a dedicated team working on policy and legislative issues facing nurses, grassroots advocacy is a key component of passing laws. As we wrap up a summer of in-person advocacy opportunities, please continue to take action via email and phone to contact your elected officials about issues facing your profession because when nurses speak, Washington listens.
For more information on issues impacting nurses or how to take action please visit rnaction.org.