Published July 23, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C., Monday, July 23, 2018 - The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds the United States House of Representatives for passing legislation that is indispensable to the health of the nation. The Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 959) provides critical support to nursing students, faculty, and programs, which helps ensure access to care across the continuum and in every community.
“Building workforce capacity was placed at the forefront of the national healthcare agenda when the House of Representatives passed this legislation today,” said Dr. Ann Cary, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Without a robust workforce, our country cannot realize the goals of increasing access, reducing cost, and improving quality.”
AACN commends Representative David Joyce (R-OH), the lead sponsor of H.R. 959, along with, Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Kathy Castor (D-FL) – the original bill cosponsors – for their steadfast support of the nursing profession. This bipartisan effort includes the backing of 105 U.S. Representatives.
“Our nation will soon face a nursing shortage, so we need to do all we can to make sure those who are interested in this valued career path have access to high-quality education opportunities,” said Congressman Dave Joyce. “As the husband of a nurse and co-chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus, I know the amount of dedication, care, and support nurses put into their daily task of caring for every patient. I am thankful for the incredible bipartisan support this bill has received on behalf of our nation’s nurses.”
“Our nurses must have the quality training needed to respond to the needs of our community - from an aging population, to an increase in chronic diseases, to a worsening opioid epidemic, and more. But nursing shortages in Hawai‘i and across the country are putting patient health at risk and increasing healthcare costs,” said Representative Tulsi Gabbard. “Our bipartisan legislation takes a vital step forward in providing our nurses with training, education, and financial support so they can serve the people in our communities.”
“The nursing schools within AACN’s membership are deeply appreciative for this Congressional action, said Dr. Deborah Trautman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “It provides us great encouragement that federal legislators understand the fundamental position that nurses transform healthcare.”
H.R. 959 would reauthorize the Nursing Workforce Development Programs (authorized under Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. 296 et. seq]) through Fiscal Year 2023. AACN and members of the Nursing Community Coalition have made this legislation a priority during the 115th Congress. The Title VIII programs are foundational federal investments for the nursing profession. Countless nurses who have received this funding have launched their careers and leveraged the federal dollars to impact care in America’s most remote areas serving vulnerable populations.
AACN looks forward to working with the U.S. Senate to advance its version of the bill (S. 1109) introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Susan Collins (R-ME). We urge Congress to act swiftly to enact Title VIII reauthorization legislation. For more information, see the House-passed legislation H.R. 959 and AACN's Advocacy on the Workforce.