This past week as the Supreme Court listened to oral arguments from both sides of the issues on the fate of the Affordable Care Act, a grassroots group of nurses visited with more than 85 members of the House of Representatives to seek support for HR 3679: National Nurse Act of 2011.
The Bill is sponsored by Eddie Bernice Johnson, a congresswoman from Texas and first nurse elected to the House of Representatives, and Peter King, a congressman from New York. The Bill has bipartisan support currently, but we are working to gain more in order to have the Bill moved to the House floor. We are also working on companion legislation for the Senate, which is part of the legislative process to have a Bill passed and signed into law.
In case you are not familiar with the bill, here is a link
. In short, this is a simple bill that elevates the Chief Nurse Officer position of the U.S. Public Health Services from part time to full time status and renames the position to be known as the National Nurse for Public Health; one goal is to raise visibility in order to promote wellness and emphasize disease prevention. In case you are not familiar with the current role of the Chief Nurse, here is a link to learn more
Each Representative’s office we visited found the bill something that they would be willing to support, but wanted to hear from their constituents (nurses, case managers, disease managers and others) that they supported the bill. We were told over and over again, most decisions to support bills are made when Representatives hear from citizens in their districts. As a result, I am reaching out to you to be part of this grassroots effort by reviewing the bill and taking action
by writing to your member of Congress and show your support. The National Nurse website
has all the materials you need to locate your member of Congress and a sample letter you can use to show your support.
This Bill should be welcome news for each case manager and others who work in care coordination across the care continuum, as the goal of the bill would provide support for what each of you do every day in coordinating care, educating and empowering consumers to understand the importance of improving their health and healthcare in order to prevent chronic conditions or better manage chronic conditions in order to prevent avoidable exacerbation and readmission, thus improving their quality of life and lowering escalating healthcare costs.
We won’t know the fate of how the Supreme Court Judges will rule on the Affordable Care Act until late June. Yet regardless of their decisions, the health industry, both payers and providers, are moving forward with implementing new models of care that are transforming the healthcare landscape because we have to find ways to ensure access, improve the quality of care and contain the cost of healthcare in every sector of the system. House Bill HR 3679: National Nurse Act of 2011 is one of the tools that can support these efforts.