Nurses are an important part of the public policy conversation- advising, performing, and monitoring policies and procedures critical to exceptional patient care. Below you will find news and resources from ARIN leadership to educate and empower nurses in the healthcare policy arena:

Nursing Community and the Issues- Learn About the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Program, which addresses critical nursing concerns such as continuing education, nurse shortages, and workplace improvement. ARIN is proud to be a member of the Nursing Community coalition, and encourages you to become an advocate of the nursing profession in making a difference in healthcare.

IN THE LEGISLATIVE NEWS THIS MONTH:
May 2017

As we expected, based on the Administration"s Budget Blueprint released in March, President Trump"s FY 2018 Budget Proposal recommends to Congress steep cuts to HHS programs overall. Released officially today, the proposal suggests, that the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs be decimated by 64% taking the funding level from $229.472 million in FY 2017 down to $82.977 million. To put this in context, this is slightly more than the programs received back in FY 2001. Essentially, what the budget recommends is to only fund the NURSE Corps (Loan Repayment and Scholarship program-*note 0.19% decrease from the Omnibus, not the CR as reported in the justification) and eliminates the funding for the following Title VIII programs:

As it relates to the NINR, the cuts propose taking the funding levels back to approximately what NINR received 16 years ago. The President recommends a 24% reduction to NINR— taking the funding from $150.273 million in FY 2017 down to $113.668 million (See the attached funding chart). For all of NIH, the recommended cut is approximately 21% taking the funding from $32.084 billion to $26.9 billion. (Please note, the President"s Budget compares the CR levels and not the final FY 2017 Omnibus).

While Title VIII and NINR are the two programs of interest for the coalition, there are some other highlights. For example, the budget recommends consolidating the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality into NIH by creating the National Institute for Research on Safety and Quality and suggests maintaining its funding at $272 million. For a full list of the proposed reductions, eliminations, and increases, please see the following:

Thank you to the 48 organizations that signed onto the Nursing Community statement that opposes the President"s FY 2018 Budget proposal. This is now posted on the NC website, was tweeted, and will be sent shortly to the House and Senate Budget and Appropriations committees as well as the House and Senate LHHS-ED appropriations subcommittee.

During Nurses Week, we were on the Hill educating Congressional staff about the importance of Title VIII and NINR and will continue during the Congressional appropriations process. We have tremendous champions in the House and Senate who will help support these programs. The President"s Budget is only recommendations and not enforceable by law so we look to Congress to fund these programs and in turn support America"s health.

Nursing Community Expresses Deep Concern Over President"s Budget
FY 2018 President"s Budget

A letter from ARIN Leadership Regarding Public Policy:

Dear Colleagues,

Nurses, especially those belonging to ARIN, need to become more involved in public policy issues related to nursing and health care. Newly developed radiologic equipment and software, interventional radiologic procedures, the use of contrast media, and tests performed on the minimally injured patient to the complex elderly patient in the radiology arena make our participation necessary to maintain optimum nursing standards.

Today, performing Excellent Patient Care is only one responsibility included in the radiologic and imaging nurse’s role. Each day when we go home to our families, we listen to the daily news and hear of the many medical issues that are not beneficial to our patients, family and community, whom are in need of our professional input. Some of these issues we observe within our present employment, other issues are those brought to us by friends and family seeking assistance in navigating within the healthcare arena.

Many patients are not informed of their rights. Patients should be made aware of the risks and the benefits of these tests and procedures, including the medications and contrast medias they are to receive, but in the rush to get the patients in-and-out, these formalities are missed.

The public assumes that outpatient care centers are “doing the right thing”, while in fact, they are not always practicing with the required regulations and guidelines and thus, jeopardizing patient care. Professionals, although aware of their actions, sometimes find the almighty dollar a greater goal. A patient will receive an order from their cardiologist for a Cardiac CTA and be referred to an outpatient facility. To prepare for this exam the patient receives two prescriptions. One drug is ordered to be taken prior to the test to “slow down their heart rate” so that the test can be completed. The other pill is to be taken when the CT technologist instructs the patient to take the pill. The patient is placed on a cardiac monitor during the scan, but does not see a nurse or physician, and no one takes their blood pressure. The patient is sent home being told the doctor will be getting the results. Is this the care we advocate for our patients?

Sometimes the impending healthcare issues are either not fully discussed or improperly thought out, in need of nursing advice. A recent Sunday newspaper had an article relating to the new stipulation put forth by Congress requiring patients taking controlled pain medications to see their ordering physicians monthly to obtain their prescribed pain medications. This new requirement was put into place to prevent the many controlled pain medication overdoses, but does not consider the already overly booked physician, the financially strained patient who now has to pay another co pay, the overwhelmed family caregiver who has to transport the patient to the physician who is fully aware of the patient’s chronic or cancer pain. We, as nurses, may be able to devise a plan to assist the patients and remain in compliance with federal regulations.

The Affordable Care Act was brought into existence to provide health care to the many that were rejected or who could not afford health care insurance for themselves or their family. However, businesses and insurance companies are willing to fight to avoid providing affordable health care. An example of this is the unwillingness to pay for birth control medications based on the company’s religious convictions despite the reasoning for the birth control medications.

Today, it is imperative that nurses occupy positions of leadership and decision-making. The American Nurses Association encourages us, in ARIN, to join the thousands of other nurses from across the country in becoming grassroots nurse advocates, contributing to health care issues in efforts to help everyone, and ensuring effective and safe health care policies are approved.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!!

Beth Hackett
ARIN Board of Directors