A Way to Honor Fallen Heroes on #GoldStarSpousesDay


By Brian Davis and Matthew Fitting

Today is Gold Star Spouses Day, a time to honor the husbands and wives of fallen servicemembers who take up the courageous task to keep their loved ones’ memories alive. As we thank them for their service and sacrifice on this #GoldStarSpousesDay, there are several ways to honor fallen heroes of our country and celebrate those loved ones they leave behind. One way to honor those nurses who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country is through recently introduced legislation.

The bi-partisan United States Cadet Nurse Corps Service Recognition Act (H.R. 2056/S. 997) was recently introduced in both houses of Congress by Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). The U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps served in World War II and are the only uniformed corps members from that war who haven’t been recognized as veterans. The United States Cadet Nurse Corps Service Recognition Act would correct this and ensure that these nurses’ service to their country is never forgotten.

This remarkable group of nurses didn’t just make a difference by serving – they revolutionized the nursing profession for decades to come. By ensuring that there were trained healthcare professionals at home and abroad during World War II, the Cadet Nurse Corps paved the way for how nursing and nurse training evolved in the US by professionalizing the practice and teaching methods that would serve as the backbone of our nation’s recovery for generations. As a result of federal funding for the program, nursing schools across the country were able to upgrade their facilities and equipment, ensuring better care for all patients, not just those serving in the military. The program also made positive steps toward expanding access to minority and low-income students who might not have considered entering the profession otherwise.

In honor of #GoldStarSpousesDay, we’re asking you to take action and tell your Member of Congress to not only support these bills, but to ensure passage. This common-sense legislation has been introduced 11 times, but has yet to become law. As we commemorate #GoldStarSpousesDay, it is long overdue that these brave Nurses who served our nation with dignity in its time of need are properly recognized as veterans.

Senators Rubio and Warren reintroduce bill to protect student loan borrowers


By Janet Haebler and Sam Hewitt

Last week, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reintroduced the Protecting JOBs Act (S. 609). Under the bill, any state that receives federal funding through the Higher Education Act would be barred from denying, suspending, or revoking an occupational license or a driver’s license “solely” because a borrower defaulted on their federal student loans.

As early as the 1990’s, states were urged by the U.S. Department of Education and select member organizations representing government, to adopt laws requiring regulatory boards to suspend professional licenses, and even driver’s licenses, if the board received notice informing them an applicant held outstanding student loans. Around 2010, at the height of this legislative trend, roughly half of states had some form of license suspension for default in place.

Although several states rescinded laws seizing or suspending licenses, barriers remain for some license holders. As of 2018, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports at least eight states—Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Texas—maintain laws requiring all occupational boards to revoke licenses for defaulting on any type of federal or state education loan. Louisiana will only revoke a license if the professional has defaulted on an education loan issued by the state. An additional five states—Arkansas, California, Mississippi, Minnesota and Florida—revoke only the licenses of health care professionals for defaulting on education loans. In Arkansas and Mississippi, the laws are more narrow, applying only to state health care education loans and scholarship agreements. Two states—Iowa and South Dakota—revoke all state-issued licenses, including driver’s and recreational hunting licenses.

According to the Institute for College Access and Success, 8.9 million federal student loan borrowers now in default with over 1 million borrowers added each year. With a continued increase in the percentage of Americans working in occupations requiring licensure, approximately 25%, combined with rising student loan default rates, there has been renewed interest. The Protecting JOBs Act is a bi-partisan effort at the federal level to address this counterproductive policy.

Watch for ANA updates and requests for grassroots efforts in the interest of advancing this policy. You can read more about this issue at Forbes.

Congressional Update: Workplace Violence and Measles Outbreak


Workplace Violence Legislation Reintroduced

Last week, on February 21, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) reintroduced the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309). This goal of this legislation is to help reduce workplace violence that nurses and other healthcare providers face everyday.

It requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop standards requiring health care and social service employers to write and implement a workplace violence prevention plan to prevent and protect employees from violent incidents in the workplace. OSHA already produces a document containing voluntary guidelines for preventing workplace violence in health care settings. You can read the guidelines by clicking here.

ANA President Dr. Ernest Grant stated, “The American Nurses Association, representing the nation’s 4 million registered nurses, is indebted to the members of Congress who remain steadfast in championing this critical legislation. We believe in this bill because it underscores the urgency to address existing workplace cultures that discourage nurses from reporting for fear of retribution and to implement plans that prevent incidence of violence in the workplace. Safe work environments and quality care are not mutually exclusive, both must be considered in order to promote positive health outcomes for patients and communities. This bill is a step towards meaningful progress to prevent incidents of violence in all health care settings and we thank Rep. Courtney for introducing this legislation.”

Congressional Hearing on the Measles Outbreak

Yesterday, February 27, 2019, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce held a hearing on the current measles outbreaks affecting certain communities in the United States. ANA sent a letter to the Subcommittee Chair and Ranking Member regarding our position on vaccines. You can read it here: E and C Measles Letter 2019.02.28 FINAL