[LEGISLATION] H.R. 3723: Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2013

H.R. 3723: Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2013

To amend the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend the program for viral hepatitis surveillance, education, and testing in order to prevent deaths from chronic liver disease and liver cancer, and for other purposes.

Thank you to the newest Cosponsors.  Please thank your legislators for supporting legislation that YOU believe in.  If they are not listed as Cosponsors, touch base with them and let you know what you support.  Your voice goes a long way towards creating change.


Explore the full text:  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr3723/text

Take time to thank our supporters, or voice your thoughts to your representatives.

Need help finding your legislators?

Find your representatives: http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup


[LEGISLATIVE ACTION] APRNs & Durable Medical Equipment

ImageWe did it once, but now we need to make it permanent. Last year, we celebrated postponing the enforcement of the required physician’s signature for APRNs to order durable medical equipment (DME).

Here’s the catch.

It was a postponement without a firm date. So, at some point in 2014, APRNs will no longer be able to order DME without a physician’s signature. The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services delay was a step in the right direction, but now we need a new plan.

That’s where H.R. 3833 comes in.

Congressman  (D-WA) just introduced legislation to eliminate the physician required signature for ordering DME. His bill would remedy the current DME face-to-face requirement and allow providers, such as APRNs, to document that the face-to-face encounter was completed.

Your member of Congress needs to hear from you. Contact your Representative now and urge them to co-sponsor this legislation and allow APRNs to do their job!


U.S. Representative Lois Capps Introduces Safe Staffing for Nurses Legislation

Earlier this year, U.S. Representative Lois Capps (D-CA), a nurse, introduced bi-partisan legislation allowing nurses to have a safer work environment. Congresswoman Capps, along with U.S. Representative David Joyce (R-OH), introduced the “Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2013,” HR 1821. The bill is currently in discussion with the Committee on Energy and Commerce and is also being read at the Committee on Ways and Means. 

The primary goal of the bill is to provide for patient protection by establishing safe nurse staffing levels at certain Medicare providers. The bill enumerates many well known facts about workplace safety for nurses, patients, and hospitals. Some include

  • Research shows that patient safety in hospitals is directly proportionate to the number of RNs working in the hospital. Higher staffing levels by experienced RNs are related to lower rates of negative patient outcomes.
  • A 2011 study on nurse staffing and inpatient hospital mortality shows that sub-optimal nurse staffing is linked with a greater likelihood of patient death in the hospital. A 2012 study of serious patient events reported to the Joint Commission demonstrates that one of the leading causes of all hospital sentinel events is human factors, including staffing and staffing skill mix.
  • Healthcare worker fatigue has been identified as a major patient safety hazard, and appropriate staffing policies and practices are indicated as an effective strategy to reduce healthcare worker fatigue and to protect patients. A national survey of RNs found that 74% experience acute or chronic effects of stress and overwork.
  • A 2012 study of Pennsylvania hospitals shows that by reducing nurse burnout, which is attributed in part to poor nurse staffing, those hospitals could prevent an estimated 4,160 infections with an associated savings of $41,000,000. That study also found that for each additional patient assigned to an RN for care, there is an incidence of roughly one additional catheter-acquired urinary tract infection per 1,000 patients, or 1,351 infections per year, costing those hospitals as much as $1,100,000 annually.
  • When hospitals employ insufficient numbers of nursing staff, RNs are being required to perform professional services under conditions that do not support quality health care or a healthful work environment for RNs.

The bill also establishes certain levels of safety for nurse staffing at Medicare participating hospitals. Each participating hospital shall implement a hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services furnished in the hospital, through which a nursing staff committee will help develop. 

The inclusive committee will “conduct regular, ongoing monitoring of the implementation of the hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services furnished in the hospital; carry out evaluations of the hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services at least annually; and make such modifications to the hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services as may be appropriate.”

There is yet to be a companion bill in the U.S. Senate, but as the bill moves forward, ONS will keep its members apprised of the legislation.