AFTER THE ELECTION: The 111th Congress
The 110th Congress adjourned October 3 after passing a $725 billion financial services bailout plan. The president signed the legislation into law the same day. Congress also passed, and the president signed into law, the giant continuing resolution bill providing funding at the FY 2008 level through March 6, 2009 for all government agencies — except defense, homeland security, and military construction and veteran affairs — and programs, including Title VIII - Nursing Workforce Development Programs. The latter three agencies received full-year funding for FY 2009 as follows: $487.7 billion for the Department of Defense; $40 billion for the Department of Homeland Security; $72.9 billion for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Title VIII advocates will need to resume work in January when the 111th Congress and the new administration take office to ensure that the Nursing Workforce Development Programs receive the highest possible funding levels for the remainder of FY 2009. The current funding status appears in the chart below.

Despite the worsening financial crisis, health care reform is likely to be the primary focus for health authorizing committees in the next Congress. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has indicated his intention to have legislation ready for introduction in January. HELP Committee staff are working together with Finance Committee staff to produce a combined bill. Top House leadership and senior committee members have also been meeting for months to develop health reform legislation. While many seasoned health care advocates predict there will be no funding available to expand health coverage and benefits, spelling defeat for health care reform, there is likely to be considerable activity nonetheless.





        Volume 5, Issue 1
            October 2008

AFTER THE ELECTION: The 111th Congress

BE INFORMED Before You Go to the Polls November 4th

Comparative Effectiveness Research Act Lacks Nursing Input

FROM THE STATES . . .
Government Affairs Action Center

Title VIII - Nursing Workforce Development Programs
(Amounts in Thousands)

 

FY 2005
Final

FY 2006
Final

FY 2007
Final

FY 2008
Final

FY 2009
President's
Budget

FY 2009
House
Approps
Subcom

FY 2009
Senate
Approps
Committee

Total

$150,661

$149,679

$149,679

$156,046

$109,853

$174,409

$167,652

Advanced Education
Nursing

58,160

57,061

57,061

61,875

- 0 -

61,875

62,975

Comprehensive Geriatric
Education

3,450

3,392

3,392

3,333

3,392

3,392

3.392

Loan Repayment &
Scholarships

31,482

31,055

31,055

30,512

43,744

43,744

40,000

Nurse Education, Practice &
Retention Grants

36,468

37,291

37,291

36,640

37,291

37,291

37,291

Nursing Faculty Loan
Program

4,831

4,773

4,773

7,860

9,319

12,000

7,887

Nursing Workforce Diversity

16,270

16,107

16,107

15,826

16,107

16,107

16,107




BE INFORMED Before You Go to the Polls November 4th
Before you enter the voting booth on November 4 make sure you know the candidates' positions. The NLN's Government Affairs Action Center is a comprehensive resource specifically designed to meet all your election 2008 needs — federal, state or local. From detailed candidate bios to information about specific ballot initiatives to help in locating polling sites, all this can be found under the "Elections & Candidates" tab on the home page of the Action Center at http://capwiz.com/nln/home.

For any of your federal legislators, look up their voting record on the issues of concern to the NLN and the nurse educator community. Go to your representative's or senators' respective home pages on the NLN's Government Affairs Action Center and click on the tabs "Votes" and "Bills" to see how they align with NLN positions.

But, most important, VOTE on November 4!

 
Comparative Effectiveness Research Act Lacks Nursing Input
In response to the introduction of S. 3408, the Comparative Effectiveness Research Act of 2008, the NLN took issue with the composition of the proposed Health Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Institute mandated in the legislation. Introduced by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Kent Conrad (D-ND), the bill signals a national commitment to better health, delivering measurable improvements, narrowing the health inequalities gap, and potentially lowering health care costs for everyone in the country.

But, as noted by NLN CEO Beverly Malone in a letter to the Senators dated September 10, 2008,

"In order to maintain scientific standards and attempt to generate reliable, unbiased information, the NLN strongly suggests that the proposed Health Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Institute established under S. 3408 draw on the guidance and expertise of the full range of health care clinicians - including nurses - who are instrumental in promoting cost-effective, quality care. To exclude nursing in the composition of the institute's Board of Governors will not allow the building of an environment to meet the needs of 21st century health care demands gained from broad-based, interdisciplinary partnership, work, and perspectives. Restricting participation of who has influence on health policymaking unintentionally diminishes the potential that comparative effectiveness research holds. And too, most importantly, absent the input and research of nursing professionals' knowledge and skills, the NLN contends that a disservice to patients and public would accrue."

It is anticipated that S. 3408 will be introduced early in the next Congress.

 

FROM THE STATES . . .

States Work to Avoid Nurse Shortage by Investing in
Education Programs

Stateline.org — a daily online publication of the Pew Research Center — reports that more than two-thirds of the states have allocated funding to nursing education programs over the past five years in an effort to address the looming nationwide nursing shortage. According to a 2004 report by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the United States is expected to have a shortage of one million nurses by 2020.

Thirty states were experiencing nurse shortages in 2000 and 44 states are projected to have shortages by 2020. States have been "pouring money into the problem," increasing funding for nursing scholarships and loan forgiveness programs for nurses who return to school. For example, the Mississippi Legislature in 2006 approved a $12,000 pay increase for nurse faculty, which drew younger nurses into teaching and helped retain faculty who were planning to retire. That same year, Kansas launched a 10-year, $30 million initiative to increase the number of nurses by 25 percent by having colleges compete for the money and matching funds. The initiative led to 507 additional nursing slots in the first year and an expansion of $100,000 in grants to private nursing programs.

Rhode Island Panel Studying Nursing Shortage
A commission created by the Rhode Island Senate is studying ways to ease the state's nursing shortage. Studies have shown that Rhode Island could have shortages of up to 1,400 registered nurses in 2010 and nearly 6,500 by 2020. The commission is trying to make sure that nursing education programs are enrolling enough students to meet the demand and is expected to report its findings by the end of January.

 
National League for Nursing | The Voice for Nursing Education | 61 Broadway, 33rd Floor, New York, NY 10006 | www.nln.org
Newsletter contact Kathleen A. Ream, Director, Government Affairs
Phone: 703-241-3947 | Email: kream@nln.org

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