[INTERNET RADIO] Leaders in Nursing Discuss H.R. 485

ImageIn Case You Missed It

During National Nurses Week, Susan Sullivan MSN, RN, PHN, Secretary of the National Nursing Network Organization, joined hosts RN.FM Internet Radio hosts Kevin Ross and Keith Carlson to discuss H.R. 485, The National Nurse Act of 2013. If you missed this informative show, please click here to listen via an archived link. Susan presented a thorough explanation about the campaign to designate the Chief Nurse Officer of the Public Health Service as the National Nurse for Public Health. Thank you to Kevin, Keith, and Susan for this excellent broadcast.

Support for the National Nurse Act Continues to Build

Fourth+of+July.+Group+on+Capitol+steps,+1918Sixty-Eight Co-Sponsors and Counting

Thanks to the amazing effort by supporters throughout the country, H.R. 485, The National Nurse Act of 2013 now has 68 Congressional co-sponsors! The National Nursing Network Organization has heard back from a number of legislative staff working with members who have signed on in support

It has been particularly impressive to hear from nurses and key stakeholders who wish to contact their own U.S. Representative to urge they fully support The National Nurse Act of 2013 by becoming a co-sponsor.

Visit the Take Action Page to see how easy it is to begin this process. Should you wish to visit your U.S. Representative’s district office, you are welcome to email the NNNO Board for an informational packet that includes talking points, an explanation of H.R. 485, and a copy of the endorsement letter that includes the support of over 130 organizations and prominent individuals.

“Democracy is not something that you believe in, or something that you hang your hat on. It’s something that you do, you participate. Without participation, democracy crumbles and fails. If you participate, you win, and the future is yours.”
—Abbie Hoffman

[NATIONAL NURSE] Government Has Role to Play In Prevention

ImageThe 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.

[LEGISLATIVE UPDATE] Nurses Take Their Voices to the Hill

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.
ImageThis 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.