Sponsor of H.R. 1651 in the 115th Congress:
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson TX-30
Sponsor of S. 1106 in the 115th Congress:
Jeff Merkley (OR-D)
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Earlier this spring, nurses and case managers convened for a task force meeting at the Miami Jewish Center that focused on strengthening compliance and standards for licensed facilities for seniors. Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24-D) served as a host. Eight seniors perished in the Hollywood Hills nursing home in sweltering temperatures when Hurricane Irma knocked out power and no other electricity was available for air conditioning. According to Rep. Wilson’s press release, the mission of this task force is to explore policies and measures to prevent catastrophes like the one that took place at Hollywood Hills. Lives are saved when long-term care centers take precautions.
A participant at this meeting was NNNO Board member, Anne Llewellyn RN-BC, MS, BHSA, CCM, CRRN. Anne came prepared to the meeting to educate Rep. Wilson about H.R. 1651 and ask that she become the 75th co-sponsor for the bill. Thank you to Anne for her continued advocacy and to the Congresswoman for her support.
Also joining the growing list of co-sponsors in the House of Representatives for H.R. 1651 The National Nurse Act is Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27-R). Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen began her career as a certified teacher in Florida. She was first elected to serve in Congress in 1989, becoming the first Hispanic woman to do so. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is committed to increasing the affordability of healthcare through common sense reforms as the best solution in assuring more Americans have access to quality healthcare.
You can have a powerful impact in supporting a National Nurse for Public Health by writing a letter to your elected official to encourage their support.
The National Nurse Act now boasts 7 co-sponsors for S. 1106 and 100 co-sponsors for H.R. 1651. With National Nurses Week just around the corner, supporting this legislation is an excellent way to elevate the role of nurses in public health and disease prevention.
Further, a National Nurse for Public Health would be a helpful resource in reducing the health disparities that continue to plague our nation. Researchers discovered in 2002 that people of color are at much greater risk of developing complications from chronic health conditions and also receive care that puts them at risk. The report, “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care” published by the Institute of Medicine, found that people of color received inadequate medication for heart disease; were less likely to receive needed surgery such as coronary bypass and transplants; and they failed to receive adequate kidney dialysis. Amputations were 3.6 times higher in black people than white with all other factors being equal. Nurses are ubiquitous and present in every community. The nursing profession continues to be recognized for being able to translate medical jargon into culturally sensitive messages. A National Nurse for Public Health would provide a uniting voice and leadership to begin reducing these shocking health disparities.
The following letter template makes reaching out to your elected official quick and easy:
For additional tips on how to locate your legislator, communicate with an elected official and engage in grassroots activism, please visit the National Nursing Network Organization’s Take Action link.
April 2-8, 2018 marked National Public Health Week (NPHW), themed "Healthiest Nation 2030: Changing Our Future Together". This year, the National Nursing Network Organization was honored to receive a letter on behalf of the National Public Health Association, inviting this organization to officially become a NPHW partner.
In his keynote address to mark the occasion, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams noted “I believe with every fiber of my being that every American deserves to live a long and healthy life.” View Dr. Adams’ remarks, and other public health speeches here.
To maximize the health of all Americans, Dr. Adams emphasized the need to address such public health crises as the opioid epidemic, the effects of adverse childhood events, obesity, mental illness, and health inequity. To address such complex public health challenges, Adams stressed the importance of enhanced partnerships. A National Nurse of Public Health would represent collaboration between nursing, additional health professionals and policy experts to elevate health for all.
Each day of public health week highlighted a key public health topic, including improved mental health services, communicable disease prevention, health of the environment, community violence prevention, and health equity. Join the American Public Health Association and the NNNO to celebrate and improve the health of every American. You can find great tools and tips for advocacy through the American Public Health Association.
Thank you to Eric Bergman RN, CCM, President of the Case Management Society of America-Chicago (CMSA), for including the National Nurse Act in his opening remarks during the annual conference of the Illinois state affiliate of CMSA.
Eric spoke before 282 participants and reinforced these key points:
As the lead sponsor of The National Nurse Act, H.R. 1651, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) embodies the role of nurses in public health, advocacy and leadership. As the first nurse elected to the United States Congress, Congresswoman Johnson has been a foundational supporter of a National Nurse for Public Health.
Recently, Congresswoman Johnson offered the following words in support of a national nurse, “Nurses play a critical role in the prevention and management of our nation’s deadliest conditions like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and opioid addiction. They are also the first to comfort those who are in distress.
The National Nurse Act provides an opportunity to bring forth the significant and trusted voice of the nurse to the ongoing conversation about health and health care in America.
I am pleased to have introduced this legislation in the 115th Congress and, along with a bipartisan group of Members of Congress, have contacted the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee urging a hearing and markup on the bill as soon as possible, in order to move the legislation and allow the full Congress to weigh in on the important job our nurses perform every day in every corner of this country.”
Thanks to the leadership of dedicated elected officials like Congresswoman Johnson, The National Nurse Act is moving steadily closer to reality.