AACN Applauds as the COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Becomes Law

Published March 27, 2020

Key Provisions Support the Healthcare Workforce and Academic Nursing

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2020 –The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds the swift passage of H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the President's action to sign it into law. This $2 trillion stimulus package is a massive bipartisan effort to address the economic impact of COVID-19, which includes support for academic nursing and the healthcare workforce who are on the frontlines fighting this public health challenge.

"AACN is proud to serve our nursing deans, educators, and students as the nursing profession heroically works to keep Americans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors. "H.R. 748 provides vital support to academic nursing and the nursing workforce during these unprecedented times, and we look forward to our continued work with Congress and the Administration as we address the needs of our nation."

This historic legislation contains many of AACN's legislative priorities and key provisions, including:

  • Reauthorizing the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs: As we combat COVID-19, Title VIII programs provide much needed support for nurses working in our communities, including rural and underserved areas. In addition, these programs are crucial to nursing schools and nursing students so they can continue to meet our nation's healthcare needs today and in the future. By reauthorizing Title VIII, we can ensure that the nursing pipeline remains strong and patients across the country can continue to have access to high-quality nursing care.  

  • Ensuring the Safety and Health of Nurses and Nursing Students: Nothing is more important than the health and safety of the nursing workforce, including, nurse educators and students. H.R. 748 supports that mission by providing $16 billion for the strategic national stockpile, which includes personal protective equipment (PPE). 

  • Safeguarding Federal Student Loans and Aid: H.R. 748 provides $14.25 billion for colleges and universities and emergency financial aid to students. This legislation also suspends federal loan payment and interest accrual through September and allows for flexibility for students and institutions as we adapt to the far-reaching impact of COVID-19. 

  • Authorizes NPs and CNSs to Certify Home Health Care for their Patients: The CARES Act includes language that allows Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) to certify Medicare patients for home health care services.  

  • Modernizes the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps: H.R. 748 authorizes a Ready Reserve Corps to serve in times of public health and national emergencies.

"As nursing schools across the country are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, this stimulus package includes vital provisions that will help to ensure they have the resources necessary to combat this public health challenge," said Dr. Deborah Trautman, AACN President and Chief Executive Officer. "AACN applauds Congress for reauthorizing the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs as it allows us to not only aid the fight against this novel coronavirus, but support future generations of nurses as well."

While the inclusion of these legislative priorities is important and historic, AACN recognizes that this moment comes out of necessity as our nation combats COVID-19. We are proud to see Congress and the Administration support academic nursing in such a monumental way. AACN will continue to work with our federal policymakers as we address this public health challenge. More information on AACN COVID-19 efforts can be found on our website and follow @AACNPolicy for breaking news and the most up to date information.