Newswise — WASHINGTON, DC, February 2, 2015 - Today, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has expressed support and concern over specific provisions outlined in the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget that would impact the nursing workforce, critical healthcare research, and primary care practice.
The budget includes a recommended level of $231.622 million (level funding with FY 2015) for the Nursing Workforce Development programs (Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act). For over 50 years, the Title VIII programs have been instrumental in supporting the pipeline of registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, and nursing faculty. The recommended level funding for Title VIII is a concern at a time when nursing schools are under pressure to maximize student enrollments. The President’s Budget proposes $144.515 million (2.53% increase over FY 2015) for the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) within the National Institutes of Health, which funds the science necessary to improve practice and health in all care settings across all communities.
“As we consider the health needs of our country, it is essential that the nursing workforce is prepared to provide high-quality care to the nation’s aging and vulnerable populations,” said AACN's President Eileen T. Breslin. “For decades, these federal nursing workforce and research programs have supported efforts to improve access and health outcomes while reducing cost. The proposed level funding for Title VIII will not sustain the growth necessary to educate the next generation of nurses. At the same time, AACN appreciates the recognition that funding for nursing science is critical to improving national and global health.”
Additionally, the Administration proposes to expand the beneficiary assignment in the Accountable Care Organizations ([ACOs] Medicare Shared Savings Program) to a “broader set of primary care providers,” such as nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Budget in Brief states that this proposal, “could result in a greater number of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries being assigned to ACOs that rely on non-physician practitioners for a majority of primary care services, such as those in rural or underserved areas” and suggests a savings of $60 million in 10 years. “This expansion clearly illustrates the value and expertise of these advanced practice registered nurses in the delivery of high-quality, patient-centered, and interdisciplinary care,” added Dr. Breslin.
While Congress must make difficult decisions in this time of scarce federal resources, it is imperative that federal programs supporting nursing education and research receive maximum support so that quality of care delivery is not diminished, but improved. In late March, AACN member deans and students will convene in Washington, DC and impress upon Congress that their support of these federal investments directly translates to improved health for the nation.
For more information on the President’s FY 2016 Budget, see: www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Overview.
For more information on the FY 2016 HHS Budget-in-Brief, see: www.hhs.gov/budget/fy2016/fy-2016-budget-in-brief.pdf.
For more information from AACN on the Budget and Appropriations process, see: www.aacn.nche.edu/government-affairs/appropriations.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 750 schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. www.aacn.nche.edu