Sponsor of HR 379 in the 114th Congress:
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson TX-30
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Earlier this month S. 1205 The National Nurse Act of 2015 took a huge step forward, gaining two co sponsors from the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee. Thank you to Senators Michael Bennet (CO-D) and Mark Kirk (IL-R) for signing on to S. 1205. We are grateful to have the support from both these esteemed members of Congress.
Senator Michael Bennet (CO-D) was elected United States Senator for Colorado in November 2010. Prior to his appointment to the Senate in 2009 and subsequent election to a full six year term in 2010, Senator Bennet served as Superintendent of Denver Public Schools where he led a bold and inclusive reform effort that improved student achievement, helped turn around failing schools, and brought a halt to a seemingly endless cycle of annual budget cuts. In his role on the Senate HELP Committee, Senator Bennet continues to take a leading role in working to improve our nation's health care system and making sure it works for Colorado families.
As the junior senator of Illinois, Senator Mark Kirk (IL-R) represents half a million residents employed in the health care sector, 143 hospitals, 24,300 active patient-care physicians and 126,000 licensed registered nurses. Senator Kirk’s mission has been to create a standard of care to optimize the entire rehabilitation system—by transforming the way researchers, doctors, therapists and hospitals care for patients with neurological disorders and injuries—to give others the opportunity to have the absolute best quality of care possible.
"Some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed, so they called their local Congressman and he said, 'You're right, there oughta be a law.' Then he sat down and wrote me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bill, and I'll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law." Schoolhouse Rock
Co-sponsors are key to moving a bill forward. When members sign on to legislation they are indicating not only do they agree with the legislation, they are committed to its passage. A strong list of co sponsors often are the determining factor deciding whether a bill gets a vote or a bill that dies in committee. The National Nursing Network Organization and others are working to assure that the National Nurse Act of 2015 (HR 379) receives a committee hearing before the end of the 114th Congress. To date, H.R, 379, The National Nurse Act of 2015 has 71 co sponsors. This number includes 36 Republicans and 35 Democrats, demonstrating support from both sides of the political aisles. Thank you to the following House members who signed on to H.R. 379.
Rep. Diane Black (TN-6-R) is the third nurse in Congress to sign on as a co sponsor to H.R, 379, The National Nurse Act of 2015. Rep. Black’s real world experiences as a registered nurse have uniquely positioned her as a credible and effective leader on health care policy in Congress. She is a member of the Ways and Means House Committee and also serves on the House Nursing Caucus.
Rep. Tony Cardenas (CA-29-D) is the first Latino elected to represent the San Fernando Valley in the United States Congress. He is committed to improving health care and access for his constituents in the 29th Congressional District of California. Rep. Cardenas serves on the powerful Energy and Commerce House Committee and is also a member of the Health Subcommittee.
Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-8-R) is committed to working across the aisle to find solutions to create jobs, cut spending and keep our homeland secure, and he has demonstrated that can be done without compromising core principles. Rep. Hudson is also a member of the Energy and Commerce House Committee.
Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36-D) grew up in the community of Coachella, California, where both of his parents were farmworkers. He achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a physician through public education. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and currently serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (CA-46-D) began her congressional career in January of 1997 and is currently serving her tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. She holds senior positions on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee. She is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the House Nursing Caucus.
National Public Health Week is April 4-10th. The theme is Healthiest Nation 2030. Some fast facts for this week include building a nation of safe, healthy communities and improving our country’s growing income inequality that puts unhealthy stresses on adults and children. According to NPHW’s website, everyone has a right to good health. It is up to us to remove barriers so everyone has the same opportunity to improve their lives and their health. NPHW encourages all of us to take action by taking one small step every day for a healthier life.
The Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA), founded by Tamer Seckin, MD and Padma Lakshmi, is at the forefront of combatting endometriosis, a debilitating disease affecting an estimated one in ten women of reproductive age (~12-50 years old) in the United States. This disease remains largely out of the public eye despite its devastating effects on so many women, girls, and their families. Costing society over $110 billion annually in healthcare expenditures and lost productivity, as well as being one of the top three causes of female infertility, endometriosis is a widespread but often misunderstood public health crisis.
The EFA recognizes that nurses are the often the first line of defense for many young girls and integral to the health and wellbeing of all patients. Through the EFA’s Nurses Conference, which was originally put together in consolation with Padma’s mother, RN/MPH Vijaya Lakshmi, the EFA has increased awareness about the disease and provided continuing education credit to nurses in the New York area. The conference became so successful that it was recognized by the NYC Board of Health, and eventually mushroomed into the ENPOWER Project. Through its ENPOWER Project, annual educational events, and research collaborations, the EFA has engaged in a robust campaign to inform both the medical community and the general public, placing particular emphasis on the critical importance of early diagnosis and effective intervention for limiting future reproductive health consequences.
March is endometriosis awareness month. Celebrate with @endofound by spreading the word in your community! For more information visit the Endometriosis Foundation of America website.
The National Nursing Network Organization remains committed to passage of H.R. 379 The National Nurse Act of 2015 and its counterpart in the Senate, S. 1205. The intent of this legislation is to raise the visibility and impact of an existing, already funded position, the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS. By making this position more effective, nurses and other health professionals will be able to more effectively disseminate messages generated by the Office of the Surgeon General in their local communities, promoting health and prevention to decrease morbidity and save costs.
The National Nurse Act of 2015:
The beginning of a new year brings an opportunity for renewal and participation. Democracy requires participation and here are several suggestions of how you can become involved and help with this campaign. The good news is that most take a very minimal amount of time.
Getting the word out to others about the National Nurse Act is critically important. Social media is a powerful and inexpensive tool that many are using to transmit important information. The NNNO currently uses two modalities-Facebook and Twitter.
Over 4,080 have joined the National Nurse Campaign on Facebook. If you belong to Facebook, it is easy to ask permission to join this group. Once you join, please ADD members. It is as simple as typing your friends’ names and clicking add.
Please follow the campaign on Twitter. @NationalNurse is the twitter handle. There are currently over 1,260 followers.
Help other nurses and health professionals sign up for the monthly newsletter. Have them to look for the above logo at the top of the Home Page at http://nationalnurse.org. This picture is a live link that opens a sign up page. Each month, commit to sharing the National Nurse Newsletter with five colleagues.
Supporters of the National Nurse Act have been fantastic and we know we can count on you in 2016. Most of you are aware that the National Nursing Network Organization (NNNO) is completely volunteer and made up of grassroots supporters just like you. Whereas many organizations and campaigns hire lobbyists/government relation specialists who are paid to go to Congress and advocate on their behalf, this is not the case with the NNNO. These same groups frequently pay a stipend or honorarium to their Board of Directors. The RNs who serve on the National Nursing Network Organization Board receive no compensation. Most have full time jobs, and none have ever accepted money for their NNNO advocacy work.
The NNNO is an all-volunteer organization composed of working nurses. We value the power each one of us has as an individual to advocate for change and make a difference in improving the health of our country and the image of our profession.
So when advertisers approach us, and ask if they can post ads and links on the National Nurse website, and then pay us, we decline their offers regardless of what they are selling.
This campaign depends on YOU-and today we ask you, our supporters, to please make an on line recurring or one time donation or email the NNNO Board of Directors to learn where to mail a check to support our efforts. (Since this newsletter is frequently posted on the Internet by many organizations, for safety reasons, we are not including home addresses-thank you for your understanding.)
If possible, please consider making a recurring on line donation. Five or ten dollars a month will help to offset the cost of the National Nurse websites, this newsletter, printing, and travel expenses for Board members able to make the trip to Washington.
For a one-time contribution of $20, the team will place a certificate in your honor inside a packet that will be delivered to your US Representative or Senator (you decide!) during our next trip to Washington DC. A copy of the certificate will also be mailed to you.
The NNNO is a 501c4 non-profit corporation, but is not tax exempt (because our purpose is to lobby for the initiative) and therefore your contributions are not tax deductible.
Please join us, lend your support and empower nurses to make this vision for nursing possible. Together, nurses will bring the National Nurse Act of 2015 to passage. We could not continue the work we do without your support!
Now is a great time to bring recognition to the National Nurse Act of 2015 as well as to urge your U.S. Representative or Senators to sign on as a co-sponsor to this bill. One way to accomplish this is to write a letter to the editor of your local and/or state newspaper. Below is a template to get you started:
To The Editor:
As a nurse who has worked in our community for __ years, I am writing today to ask that you join me in supporting The National Nurse Act of 2015. H.R. 379 and its companion bill, S. 1205 will help generate a stronger focus on prevention. And it will bring more recognition to the Chief Nurse Officer of the PHS by having this existing position be additionally designated as the National Nurse for Public Health.
There is a wealth evidence that the health of our country can be dramatically advanced by deploying our largest and most trusted national health resource, America's nurses. An important role of the National Nurse will be to encourage willing nurses and other health professionals to work with their local community health programs to improve health.
This bill deserves the full support of Representative ________ and Senators ________ and ________. Nurses and other health professionals can take an active part in curbing the epidemic of chronic conditions that continue to drain our health care dollars. Leadership from a National Nurse for Public Health will encourage their involvement and guide them to be successful. I urge that Representative ______ and Senators _______ and ____________sign on to co sponsor the National Nurse Act of 2015 to demonstrate they stand as champions for nursing and public health.
NAME AND CREDENTIALS
Thank you to ANA\California for including an article about The National Nurse Act of 2015 in the January-February-March 2016 edition of The Nursing Voice. “Nurses Leading the Way for a Healthier America” can be found on page 11. Please contact the NNNO if you are interested in submitting an article to be published in a newsletter that is distributed to members of professional organizations that you belong to.
One of the most direct ways of impacting an elected official's viewpoints is through a letter writing or phone call campaign, particularly if letters and calls come directly from their constituents. U.S. Representatives and Senators are becoming increasingly interested in the National Nurse Act and they rely on your feedback in their decision making process. The more letters and calls they receive on a particular issue, the more important this matter becomes.
The NNNO has a Take Action Link to help you identify your U.S. Representative and Senators. Once you add in your location, a link will take you directly to the member’s webpage and contact information. There is also a phone script and letter that you are welcome to use – both require very little editing. However, if you would like to reach out directly to those NNNO supporters have spoken with in Congressional offices, please write the NNNO Board for more information.
The NNNO has many materials available to help guide students who are interested in promoting and/or writing about the National Nurse Act via their health policy and leadership course work. Please contact the NNNO for further information.
The NNNO has put together an easy to read and understand one page summary of the National Nurse Act of 2015. If you are attending an upcoming organizational meeting or conference and would like a great way to share information about the bill with your colleagues, write to us to obtain a copy. Also, if your organization is planning an upcoming conference, request a presentation from an NNNO Board member and we will do our best to meet your needs.