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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Recently two U.S. Senators, both from New Hampshire, came out in support of S. 1106 The National Nurse Act by becoming co–sponsors of this legislation. Thank you to Senator Margaret (“Maggie”) Hassan and Senator Jeanne Shaheen for your support.
According to Senator Hassan’s website, “Senator Maggie Hassan is committed to working with members of both parties to represent New Hampshire values and to solve problems in order to expand middle class opportunity, support small businesses, and keep America safe, secure, and free. She is the second woman in American history to be elected both Governor and United States Senator, along with fellow New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen. Senator Hassan was drawn to public service as an advocate fighting to ensure that children like her son Ben, who experiences severe disabilities, would be fully included in their communities and have the same opportunities that all parents want for their children. One of the committees Senator Hassan serves on is HELP (the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions).
Senator Shaheen has served in the U.S. Senate since 2009 and is a member of the Senate Committees on Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Appropriations, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship. She is committed to seeing that more work is done to offer solutions that improve the quality of care people receive while at the same time, contain costs. Senator Shaheen, along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Medicare Transitional Care Act. This legislation addressed costly hospital readmissions by providing seniors and their caretakers support during the vulnerable time after discharge from a hospital.
Special appreciation goes out to NNNO Advocacy Team member Cathy Lodico MS, RN, CCM, who made several trips to the DC and district offices of Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan to urge their support for S. 1106. Cathy recently received a letter from Senator Shaheen, who is a strong advocate for the nursing profession.
Senator Shaheen writes:
“I am (also) a cosponsor of the National Nurse Act, which would elevate the individual serving as the Chief Nurse Office of the Public Health Service to the position of National Nurse for Public Health. This change would bring the perspective of nurses, who are on the frontlines of our most pressing public health issues, to the forefront of leadership in identifying and addressing national health priorities with the Office of the Surgeon General. The measure is currently pending before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which I am not a member, but please be assured that I will keep your advocacy in mind as I work to bring this measure and other nursing-related bills to the full Senate for a vote.”
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: