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Thank you to the many Case Management Society of America’s (CMSA) nurse members who visited Capitol Hill last month in support of S.1475, the National Nurse Act of 2013. The National Nursing Network Organization appreciates the leadership and guidance provided by CMSA Public Policy Chairman Carol A. Gleason, MM, RN, CRRN, CCM, LRC, BCPC for these appointments. Ms. Gleason states CMSA is in strong support of S. 1475, the National Nurse Act of 2013 because of their belief that this bill would give a greater voice to nursing issues and increase health awareness educating everyone to improve their own health and that of others. Gleason states this certainly is one of the main goals of case management.
S. 1475, introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley, amends the Public Health Service Act to establish the position of National Nurse for Public Health within the Office of the Surgeon General. It requires the individual serving as the National Nurse for Public Health to serve also as the Chief Nurse Officer of the Public Health Service. The bill includes among the duties of such position providing leadership and coordination of Public Health Service nursing professional affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General and other agencies of the Public Health Service, conducting media campaigns, and providing guidance and leadership for activities that will increase public safety and emergency preparedness.
S. 1475 also requires the National Nurse for Public Health to:
(1) participate in identification of national health priorities, (2) encourage volunteerism of nurses and strengthen the relationship between government agencies and health-related national organizations, and (3) promote the dissemination of evidence-based practice in educating the public on health promotion and disease prevention activities. According to the information left with Senators and their staff, CMSA believes “this bill would give a greater voice to issues important to nurses and nursing, as well as increasing health awareness, improving healthcare literacy, and reducing health disparities. The National Nurse for Public Health would raise awareness about what everyone can do to prevent illness while improving our own health and that of our families.”
Katie DeSoato RN, CCM; Joanna Malcolm RN, BSN, CCM; JulieMartin, RN, BSN, CCM; Connie Sunderhaus RN-BC, CCM
Katie Desiato RN CCM representing CMSA Chicago reports:
“I really enjoyed being on Capitol Hill. Not only was great information provided, but time was also set aside for a role play demonstration to help attendees who had never made a visit to a lawmaker’s office. This activity showed participants how to conduct a meeting, helping to put all of us at ease with the process.
I felt privileged to have been sent by the Chicago Chapter of CMSA to represent our organization. The National Nurse Act of 2013 could give nursing a voice in the well being of our country. I truly hope that legislation will pass soon. I am planning to continue to speak with my U.S. Representatives and Senators on this issue and others that impact case management.”
The LA Times (March 4, 2013) reported on an interesting recent survey conducted by health policy experts at Harvard. The findings overwhelmingly public support for the “new frontier” prevention initiatives of the CDC’s public health agenda, for example, those that focus on changing the health behaviors responsible for the three leading causes of death (tobacco 18.1%, inactivity/poor nutrition 16.6%, and alcohol use 3.5%).
Seventy percent or more of the 1800 respondents supported efforts to change behaviors to reduce cancer, heart disease, childhood obesity, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption. More than 80% were positive about legislation to require calorie counts of items on menus and restrict sales of super-size sodas, making fruits and vegetables more affordable, teaching children about health risks of obesity, and requiring 45 minutes of physical education daily. Seventy-three percent also said the government should make nicotine patches available at no cost. Respondents were less supportive of measures seen as coercive or punitive such as charging a $50 insurance penalty for obese persons and/or measuring body mass index of school students.
These findings indicate a high potential for acceptance of more community education and behavioral change interventions focused to improve health outcomes. This data would support increased use of health messengers in all communities such as would be implemented by volunteer health professionals guided by a National Nurse for Public Health.