At the end of October, there were 7,679 bills introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
With so many pieces of important legislation
constantly in front of lawmakers and staff, it makes the fact that H.R. 728,
the Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act,
was passed unanimously in the House that much more exciting.
As you may recall, nurses lobbied their members of
Congress during ANA’s Hill Day in June to urge their lawmakers to cosponsor
this legislation. With your tireless advocacy, you can now say your work on
Title VIII is completed in the House.
Additionally, on the other side of the Capitol, the
Senate has been working just as hard on Title VIII. During the same week of
House passage, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)
Committee held a hearing on S. 1399, the Nursing
Workforce Reauthorization Act. We are pleased to report the legislation
successfully went through the committee process and the next step is for a vote
on the Senate floor.
With all eyes on the Senate, we ask you to reach out
to your Senators and ask them to consider cosponsoring S. 1399. If they are
already a cosponsor, ask them to talk to Senate Leadership to bring Title VIII
for a vote this year.
While this week has been focused on Title VIII
reauthorization, we are continuing to advocate for additional priorities such
as the Home Health Planning Improvement
Act (S. 296/H.R. 2150) and the Workplace
Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (S. 851/
H.R. 1309), and additional important pieces of legislation.
After a very busy spring and summer, Congress has left
Washington, D.C. for a few weeks and all eyes now look ahead to what is gearing
up to be an active fall.
It is clear that lawmakers and staff are listening to
the nurses. Many key priorities of ANA have progressed during the last few
It was met with great news when the House Education
and Labor Committee passed the Workplace
Violence and Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act
(H.R. 1309) with a bipartisan vote during the week of Hill Day and Membership
Assembly. This bill directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
to issue a standard requiring health care and social service employers to
develop and implement a comprehensive violence prevention plan tailored to the
facility and services with the intention to protect employees from violence
incidents in the workplace.
In July, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (H.R. 728). This legislation would reauthorize nursing workforce development programs through Fiscal Year 2024. That means two of ANA’s key bills are ready for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Additionally, it is appropriations season in the House
of Representatives and the nurses received two wins in the House-passed
Labor-HHS appropriations legislation. It included a $30 million increase in
Title VIII funding and language to direct CMS to provide information for
evaluating appropriate nurse staffing. ANA staff is working with the Senate to
ensure they are aware of the provisions in the House-passed text.
Lastly, ANA has been working closely with the Nursing
Community Coalition and the coalition was able to include an amendment to the
House passed National Defense
Authorization Act. This amendment would recognize the nurses who served as
members of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II and provide
them with honorable discharges, medal privileges, and burial benefits for
cemeteries administered under the Department of Veterans Affairs. We are
hopeful this amendment will be in the final legislation!
In order to keep up the great progress that has been
made, we urge you to keep calling upon your members
of Congress to ensure we can keep moving the ball during the upcoming
I am very excited to announce that I recently joined
the Policy and Government Affairs team at the American Nurses Association. By
way of getting to know me and my background, my career started on Capitol Hill
where I worked in the House of Representatives for several years, and most
recently, I had the privilege of working at the American Physical Therapy
I do not think landing at ANA is purely coincidental. Just a couple of years ago my family went through a deeply terrifying time. One day my mother was healthy and happy and overnight everything changed. She developed hematomas on her brain and wound up in a weeks-long coma. As readers of this blog uniquely know, my family was terrified. We were in ICU for a very long time and developed relationships with many hospital workers.
We would not have made it through each day without the nurses we met. When we didn’t understand something (which happened frequently!), the nurses would break it down and explain what it meant. When we needed something for my mother, they would get it as soon as they could. Of course, there were also the moments where we didn’t see hope, and as busy as ICU nurses are, they would take a moment and were there for us.
This fall my family celebrates three years since that time. I couldn’t be happier to share that my mother is awake, at home, and she recently went to Orlando with her children and grandkids and had the vacation of a lifetime.
While we are so grateful to be past that stage, we are
forever thankful to those nurses who not only helped my mom but helped our
entire family. We have even gone back to the hospital to see the team and show
off how well their former patient is doing!
Working in this role is what I can do to try and repay all of the nurses around the country that have done so much.
Here at ANA I am leading our legislative efforts on issues that include: Title VIII funding; safe staffing; workplace violence; health care transformation; and U.S. Nurse Cadet Corp. legislation. I encourage you to get in touch with your Members of Congress and tell them your stories about why it is so important they support these issues.
I look forward to working together to move forward sound policy that helps advance the nursing profession across the country.