Nurses are speaking and Congress is listening as August recess wraps up


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 months.

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 months!

Impact of Title X Rules Unclear for Nurses


In late June, a federal court ruled that new family planning rules can take effect, despite ongoing litigation to strike them down. For the first time, providers receiving Title X funds are faced with figuring out the practical aspects of the new rule, including any day-to-day impact on nurses who care for reproductive-age women. ANA is following fast-moving developments with the Title X “gag rule,” and continues to be alert to the rule’s unique implications for nursing.

To recap: Title X is the federal program dedicated to ensuring that patients with low incomes have access to a range of approved family planning methods, along with related reproductive health care and prevention. Title X is administered by the Office of Population Health (OPA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The program serves about 4 million people each year.

In March 2019, OPA revised Title X regulations to bar grantees from referring patients to abortion providers and to restrict the content of counseling offered to pregnant patients in additional ways. ANA has vocally opposed these provisions on ethical grounds: Nurses are ethically obligated to foster patient trust, “giving patients complete and accurate information about their health care options so they may make meaningful, informed decisions about their health.”

The details of the final rule raise practical issues for RNs working at sites with Title X funding. Section 59.14 allows only advanced practice clinicians, such as nurse practitioners or certified nurse-midwives, to provide pregnancy counseling, subject to the problematic referral limitations noted above. By the terms of the regulation, RNs and other personnel can provide only information about prenatal care.

While the rule certainly seems to limit the scope of RN practice in family planning, it is unclear how a nurse should proceed in an encounter with a patient who has just learned they are pregnant. This question is especially critical at sites in underserved areas where advanced practice clinicians are not always available. OPA has so far not provided any guidance on how a Title X provider in such circumstances can comply with the rules.

What happens now? In general, OPA has not publicly clarified how and when it will enforce the rules. The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) has publicly urged OPA “to take the time to properly expand on and better describe how it will interpret aspects of the rule — using examples that reflect the wide range of provider settings and administrative structures present in Title X.”

Despite the practical uncertainty, in the absence of judicial or legislative action to overturn it, the Title X final rule is effectively now in place. Some states may, as Illinois’ governor just announced, drop out of Title X altogether and substitute their own funding for family planning. NFPRHA recommends grantees consult their local counsel.

Nursing advocates are engaged in legislative efforts around Title X , and are working to address the implications of the rule for patient access as well as nursing practice. As clarity about implementation emerges, ANA will be tracking stories from nurses who experience direct consequences of the rule on their practice or their patients. If you have information that you would like to share about implementation of the Title X final rule, please contact

Preventing Workplace Violence – Is It Time to Call OSHA?


A behavioral health facility in Colorado was recently fined nearly $12,000 and given 15 days to make the premises safe from workplace violence (WPV). The citation came from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which found workplace hazards that exposed staff to physical threats and assaults by patients. The hazards were so great that nurses and other direct-care staff were experiencing concussions, broken skin, bruising, scratches, sprains and strains, and head injuries.

In the citation notice, OSHA ordered the employer to remove these hazards. Specific steps included implementing a comprehensive WPV prevention program, remodeling nurse stations, equipping staff with devices to call for help, continuously monitoring security cameras, and setting up procedures to notify affected staff of incidents and risks of WPV.

OSHA citations are somewhat rare for WPV issues that affect nurses, despite the fact that health care workers experience workplace violence at a rate 5-12 times higher than other workers. Nurse advocates would like to see stronger federal actions, which would reduce WPV hazards while driving employers voluntarily to adopt meaningful prevention programs.  ANA is supporting a bill in Congress that would require OSHA to develop enforceable standards specifically for WPV in health care. To tell your federal lawmakers why it’s so important they support this legislation, please click here.

As the citation in Colorado shows, however, OSHA is willing to use its general enforcement power when inspectors hear about egregious cases that risk workers’ lives and physical safety.

Does it have to go that far before something is done? No, certainly not.

Nurses are engaged everyday with co-workers and employers in efforts to prevent WPV. It is, after all, a nurse’s ethical duty to help foster an overall culture of safety and civility for everyone in a care setting. ANA has created a treasure trove of resources to support nurses who want to take a more active role in making their workplace safer.

Yet when a true culture of safety is not achieved, federal oversight may be necessary to prevent WPV. Nurses have a right to complain to OSHA about WPV incidents stemming from unsafe situations, as well other hazards. It’s best for complaints to be specific about existing hazards and name the workplace injuries or health impacts that have occurred. If you are thinking about filing an OSHA complaint, this brief Fact Sheet from ANA will tell you more about the process and link you to important information.

To learn more about what ANA is doing to #EndNurseAbuse, contact Policy and Government Affairs at