Health Care Reform: An Update
For the first time in 42 years, to vote on its health care reform package, the Senate convened on Christmas Eve. After months of negotiations, debate, and filibuster threats, the Senate passed H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, by a vote of 60 to 39 — strictly along party lines. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) did not vote.

The House and Senate leadership returned to Washington the week after Christmas and began work on conferencing the House and Senate bills to form one piece of legislation that will be sent back to both chambers for a final up or down vote. If this final legislation passes both chambers, it will be sent to the president and signed into law. Currently, all of this is expected to happen before President Obama delivers his State of the Union address in late January or early February.

For a side-by-side comparison of the major health care reform proposals, go to www.kff.org/healthreform/sidebyside.cfm.

NLN-Supported Programs Receive Increased Funding in FY 2010
The House and Senate approved a FY 2010 omnibus spending package (H.R. 3288) comprising the six remaining spending bills, including the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (H.R. 3293). Included in H.R. 3288 is $243.8 million for the Title VIII - Nursing Workforce Development Programs. This represents a 42.6 percent increase over FY 2009. The $243.8 million funding level is $19.4 million less than the president's budget and the House's proposed Title VIII spending of $263.4 million, but is $27.3 million above the Senate Appropriations Committee proposal of $216.7 million. President Obama signed the bill into law on December 16, 2009. The following chart provides a breakdown of the funding levels by program.
Title VIII - Nursing Workforce Development Programs
(Amounts in Thousands)
Nursing Workforce
Development Programs

FY 2007
Final

FY 2008
Final

FY 2009
Final

FY 2010
Final

Total

$149,679

$156,046

$171,031

$243,872

Advanced Education
Nursing
(Section 811)

$57,061

$61,875

$64,438

$64,439

Comprehensive Geriatric
Education
(Section 855)

$3,392

$3,333

$4,567

$4,567

Nurse Education, Practice and Retention Grants (Section 831)

$37,291

$36,640

$37,291

$39,896

Loan Repayment and
Scholarships
(Section 846)

$31,055

$30,512

$37,128

$93,864

Nursing Faculty
Loan Program
(Section 846A)

$4,773

$7,860

$11,500

$25,000

Nursing Workforce
Diversity
(Section 821)

$16,107

$15,826

$16,107

$16,107

Title VII Health Professions Programs also received a boost for FY 2010. Funding went from $221,695,000 in FY 2009 to $254,082,000 for FY 2010, a 14.6 percent increase.





        Volume 7, Issue 1
            January 2010

Health Care Reform: An Update

NLN-Supported Programs Receive Increased Funding in FY 2010

FROM THE STATES . . .



Government Affairs Action Center

FROM THE STATES . . .

Legislation to Address Shortage of Nursing Instructors in Ohio

On December 17, 2009, the Ohio Senate gave final approval yesterday to a bill — SB 89 — designed to entice more nurses to pursue advanced degrees in Ohio. The proposal allows the state chancellor to redistribute 25 percent of money in the nurse education loan assistance program to where it is needed most. The intent is to help nurses go back to school, get their master's degrees, and start teaching.

In addition, Senate Bill 89 allows advanced practice nurses from other states to come to Ohio without having to repeat their training under Ohio physicians, as long as they meet state qualifications. The bill also enables the Ohio Skills Bank to serve as a mediator between universities and hospitals, with the goal of letting nurses serve as mentors for nursing students, while allowing hospitals and nursing programs to work together to solve the nursing-educator shortage.

The changes are based on recommendations of the Ohio Nursing Education Study Committee, which conducted a yearlong study that found that 65 percent of nursing schools reported that their biggest problem was not having enough instructors. A recent report from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio projects that Ohio is one of three states, along with Texas and California, that will have the greatest need for nurses in the coming decade. Researchers expect Ohio to be short 32,000 nurses by 2020.

Governor Ted Strickland (D) signed SB 89 into law on December 28, 2009.

NLN Challenges CT Governor's Budget Maneuver

In a letter dated December 2, 2009, the NLN's president Cathleen M. Shultz and chief executive officer Beverly Malone asked Connecticut's Governor M. Jodi Rell (R) to reconsider her proposed suspension in FY 2010 of the licensed practical nursing (LPN) program offered at 10 state technical high schools. The governor's proposal is aimed at helping to erase a shortfall of nearly $470 million in the Connecticut state budget. As stated in the letter "...such a suspension, amounting to $1.7 million, is described as representing a 'savings' of only 0.36 percent of the state budget shortfall, [while] to the LPN program $1.7 million is a value-added public investment annually producing about 350 licensed practical nurses to the state's health care labor force — a technically skilled workforce contributing significantly to the improved health of Connecticut's people, and in turn enhancing the state's economic security."

Drs. Shultz and Malone went on to say that "the Connecticut LPN program is leveraging this academic progression phenomenon by refining a plan for LPNs to articulate to an associate's degree (AD) RN program by optimizing a student's academic credits, minimizing costs, and shortening the timeframe to secure the ADRN....With health care demands intensifying in the current economic beating, the NLN is gravely concerned that absent consistent support of and emphasis on high-priority infrastructure, recent advances to the nursing education infrastructure — such as the CT LPN academic progression plan — will not fulfill the intended expectation of paying down on asset-investments in the front-line that generates quality health outcomes, the nurse workforce.

It will be up to the Connecticut legislature to determine whether the governor's recommendation will be accepted or not.

 
 
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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