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Capitol Connection - April 2015

06/10/2015
April 7, 2015

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Capitol Connection.  This newsletter will feature information on the NLN’s public policy priorities and notable news from Capitol Hill and federal agencies. Keep an eye out for the NLN’s Capitol Connection on the first Tuesday of every month; next issue: May 5. 


The NLN Recommends $244 Million in FY 2016 for HRSA’s Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs
The president’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2016 included $231.622 million for the Title VIII nursing workforce development programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This is the same funding level as in FY 2015. The NLN is recommending a funding level of $244 million in FY 2016, the same level the Title VIII programs received in FY 2010. Below is a chart that shows funding levels for the individual programs.

Title VIII Nursing Workforce Education Programs

FY 2016 Funding ($ in thousands)

Title VIII Nursing

FY 2015

FY 2016 President's budget

Advanced Education Nursing

$63,581

$63,581

Nurse Education, Practice, & Retention

$39,913

$39,913

Workforce Diversity

$15,343

$15,343

NURSE Corps (formerly Nurse Education Loan Repayment & Scholarship Program)

$81,785

$81,785

Comprehensive Geriatric Education

$4,500

$4,500

Nursing Faculty Loan Program

$26,500

$26,500

Total, Title VIII

$231,622

$231,622


The president’s budget is the official first step in the budget and appropriations process. Currently the House of Representatives and the Senate are crafting budget proposals that will outline the overall funding levels for federal agencies. The appropriations committees in Congress will use these overall funding levels to determine how much programs such as the Title VIII programs will receive in FY 2016. Stay tuned for more information as the budget and appropriations process moves forward. 

MEND Act Introduced in House and Senate
The Making the Education of Nurses Dependable for Schools Act (MEND) Act (HR 977/S 629) introduced by former Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) provides necessary updates to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations allowing hospital-based nursing school programs to continue meeting the highest accreditation standards while remaining in compliance with governmental requirements without losing vital federal funding. The MEND Act update to CMS requirements will allow these programs to continue turning out highly skilled nurses while remaining budget neutral and maintaining the integrity of the current program. The NLN supported the MEND Act in the 113th Congress. More information can be found on the NLN’s Action Center under issues and legislation.

Senators Portman and Heinrich Introduce the MEPS Act
Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) recently introduced the Medical Evaluation Parity for Service Members (MEPS) Act (S 646) which will improve the way the military identifies and assesses mental health issues. The MEPS Act would institute mental health assessments for incoming recruits and also ensure that service members separating from active duty receive screenings as well. The entry screening would serve as a baseline for future mental health assessments throughout service members’ careers and help detect potential problems earlier, a key element of successful suicide prevention and mental health treatment efforts. The MEPS Act also requires the Defense Department to report on the effectiveness of mental health components of the Separation Health Assessment (SHA) service members receive when leaving active duty. This would provide more accurate information on their mental health condition as they transition to civilian life.

The NLN believes all individuals must have equitable access to comprehensive health and wellness care addressing all medical conditions, including mental health and substance use disorders. The League supported previous versions of the MEPS Act. More information on the can be found on the NLN’s Action Center under issues and legislation.

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