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Capitol Connection - July 7, 2015

07/09/2015
Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act
July 7, 2015
Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act Introduced in the House
On June 10, Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH) introduced H.R. 2713, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act. H.R. 2713 reauthorizes the Title VIII nursing workforce development programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration. For the last 50 years, HRSA's Title VIII nursing workforce development programs have provided education and training for entry‐level and advanced degree nurses to improve access to, and quality of, health care in underserved areas. H.R. 2713 reauthorizes the Title VIII nursing workforce development programs at HRSA and also amends the advanced educating nursing (AEN) grants to include clinical nurse specialists and clinical nurse leaders in the AEN definition. H.R. 2713 ensures that the Title VIII programs will continue to address the specific needs of the nursing and nurse faculty workforce as well as patients in our communities.

We need your help to encourage House members to become cosponsors. Tell your US representative to cosponsor H.R. 2713 and by filling out the form at the bottom of the page with your name and home zip code. Your US representative and the letter of support are automatically generated. Don't forget to pass this message on to another NLN member and share with your constituent league members.

House and Senate Appropriations Committees Determine Title VIII Funding Levels On June 23, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations bill. The committee level-funded the Title VIII nursing workforce development programs at the FY 2015 level of $231 million.

The House bill also called for the elimination of the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ). AHRQ's mission is to generate the evidence necessary to build a high-quality, high-value health care system. AHRQ-funded research is being used in hospitals, private practices, health departments, and communities across the nation to make our health care system less complex and costly. Its research fuels innovation and improves quality, identifies waste, and enhances efficiency in the health care system. It is used by patients, their loved ones, and their health care professionals to make the right health care decisions for themselves and their families. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) offered an amendment to restore funding for AHRQ which unfortunately failed along party lines in the committee. The NLN joined 147 other organizations in protesting the elimination of this important federal agency.

Over in the Senate, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY 2016 LHHS Appropriations bill on June 25. The Senate bill provides $220.63 million for the Title VIII programs which is $11 million or 4.75 percent below the FY 2015 funding level. Cuts to the individual Title VIII programs include the advanced education nursing program, the nurse loan repayment and scholarship program, and the nursing faculty loan program.

The bill consolidates the Title VIII comprehensive geriatric education program with HRSA's Title VII geriatric program, citing HRSA's combined competition in FY 2015 for the Title VIII comprehensive geriatric education program, Title VII geriatric education centers program, Title VII geriatric training for physicians, dentists, and behavioral/mental health professionals program, and the Title VII geriatric academic career awards programs. As a result of the consolidation, the committee eliminates funding for the comprehensive geriatric education line under Title VIII (-$4.5 million); the Senate bill provides $35.1 million for the consolidated Title VII geriatric program, an $839,000 (2.5 percent) increase over the Title VII funding level in FY 2015, but $3.7 million less than the FY 2015 funding levels for the two programs combined.

The following chart shows the funding levels for the Title VIII programs.

Congressional Recess Activities Are you looking to help out the NLN in August? The House and Senate will be back in their respective districts/states for the month of August for what is called Congressional recess. This presents the perfect opportunity for you to communicate directly with your members of Congress while they are home, to show your support for NLN's public policy priorities.

As a nurse educator and a constituent, you have an important voice. During the upcoming recess- August 3 (House) or August 10 (Senate) through September 7- the NLN needs you to talk to your Congressional members about:

  • HRSA's Title VIII nursing workforce development programs and their contribution to building the infrastructure of nurses our country needs
  • Cosponsoring H.R. 2713, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (House of Representatives only)
  • Becoming a member of the House or Senate Nursing Caucus

We need your support to encourage Congress to build and sustain an infrastructure of qualified nurses and nurse faculty for the nation. Concerned about how to contact your US senators and representative or what to say? Don’t worry. The NLN has compiled the 2015 Congressional Recess Toolkit with all of the information you need. This includes talking points, sample letters, how to attend a town hall meeting, and other important advocacy tips and tools.

Care Planning Act of 2015 Introduced in the Senate
Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) recently introduced S.1549, the Care Planning Act of 2015, to provide advanced illness care coordination services for Medicare beneficiaries. Fundamental to the nursing profession and the NLN is the principle that all individuals must have equitable access to comprehensive health and wellness care addressing all medical conditions. The Care Planning Act of 2015 gives people with serious illness the freedom to make more informed choices with members of their health care team. A copy of the NLN's letter of support for S. 1549 can be found at www.nln.org


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