Letter from ANNA and other health care organizations to House and Senate Budget Committee Members urging them to provide the largest possible funding level for public health care programs under the FY 2008 Budget Resolution

February 28, 2007

House* and Senate** Budget Committee Members

Washington, DC 20515/20510

Dear Representative _________* / Senator _________**:

On behalf of the 2.9 million nurses who serve as the backbone of our nation’s healthcare system, we are writing to urge you to provide the largest possible funding level for public health care programs under the FY 2008 Budget Resolution. Specifically, the undersigned organizations encourage you to prioritize increased FY 2008 funding for the Nursing Workforce Development programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration. We are united in our request for $200 million in FY 2008 to support these programs.  

We are very concerned that the President’s budget contains a $44 million cut to nursing workforce programs, including an elimination of funding for advanced practice nursing programs, while our nation is facing a nursing shortage of unprecedented proportion. We urge you to reject the President’s proposal and support funding to help address the current shortage. Of serious concern is that when inflationary factors are taken into consideration, the nursing workforce programs have received cuts each of the past three fiscal years. As such, a significant increase in resources is necessary in FY 2008 to help stem the loss from past cuts and reinvigorate the nation’s effort to address the shortage.

An adequate supply of nurses is essential to ensuring that all people – from infants, to school-age children and adolescents, to adults through individuals at end-of-life – receive quality care and that our nation has the health professionals necessary to respond to natural and manmade disasters. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) projects that today's 10 percent vacancy rate in registered nurses will grow to 36 percent by 2020, representing more than one million unfilled jobs. A few years ago, one of the most significant factors associated with the nursing shortage was a lack of interested and qualified applicants; however, due to the efforts of the nursing community, federal government, and other stakeholders, the applicant pool is growing. Now, our greatest challenge is ensuring that qualified candidates are able to enroll in and graduate from nursing school. 

The federal Nursing Workforce Development programs play an integral role in supporting nurses entering the field, allowing mid-career nurses to earn advanced degrees, and encouraging nurses to become faculty; however, the rate of unmet scholarship and loan repayment applications is significant. Now, more than ever, is not the time to retreat in our nation’s investment in the nursing workforce. 

Please know that the undersigned organizations understand and appreciate that the nation and the Congress face unprecedented fiscal challenges; however, without an adequate supply of nurses to care for the patients of today and tomorrow, we are concerned that our nation’s health care system is not sustainable. We very much appreciate your consideration of our request, and we stand ready to work with you and your colleagues to ensure the nation’s nursing shortage is effectively addressed and, ultimately eliminated.

Sincerely,

Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses

American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing

American Academy of Nursing

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

American Association of Community Colleges

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses

American College of Nurse Mid-Wives

American College of Nurse Practitioners

American Nephrology Nurses’ Association

American Nurses Association

American Organization of Nurse Executives

American Psychosocial Oncology Society

American Radiological Nurses Association

American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses

Arizona State University College of Nursing & Healthcare Innovation

Association of periOperative Registered Nurses

Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing

Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

Emergency Nurses Association

Infusion Nurses Society

National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

National Association of Neonatal Nurses

National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

National Association of School Nurses

National Black Nurses Association

National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners

National Council of State Boards of Nursing

National Gerontological Nursing Association

National League for Nursing

National Nursing Centers Consortium

National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties

National Student Nurses’ Association

Oncology Nursing Society

Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates

Society of Trauma Nurses

Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates

*A personal letter was sent to the members of the House Budget Committee:

John M. Spratt, Jr., SC, Chairman

Rose DeLauro, CT

Chet Edwards, TX

Jim Cooper, TN

Thomas H. Allen, ME

Allyson Y. Schwartz, PA

Marcy Kaptur, OH

Xavier Becerra, CA

Lloyd Doggett, TX

Earl Blumenauer, OR

Marion Berry, AR

Allen Boyd, FL

James P. McGovern, MA

Betty Sutton, OH

Robert E. Andrews, NJ

Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, VA

Bob Etheridge, NC

Darlene Hooley, OR

Brian Baird, WA

Dennis Moore, KS

Tim Bishop, NY

Paul Ryan, WI Ranking Member

J. Gresham Barrett, SC Vice Ranking Member

Jo Bonner, AL

Scott Garrett, NJ

Thaddeus G. McCotter, MI

Mario Diaz-Balart, FL

Jeb Hensarling, TX

Daniel E. Lungren, CA

Michael K. Simpson, ID

Patrick T. McHenry, NC

Connie Mack, FL

K. Michael Conaway, TX

John Campbell, CA

Patrick J. Tiberi, OH

Jon C. Porter, NV

Rodney Alexander, LA

Adrian Smith, NE

**A personal letter was sent to the members of the Senate Budget Committee:

Kent Conrad, ND, Chairman

Patty Murray, WA

Ron Wyden, OR

Russell D. Feingold, WI

Robert C. Byrd, WV

Bill Nelson, FL

Debbie Stabenow, MI

Robert Menendez, NJ

Frank Lautenberg, NJ

Benjamin L. Cardin, MD

Bernard Sanders, Independent, VT

Shelden Whitehouse, RI

Judd Gregg, NH, Ranking Member

Pete Domenici, NM

Charles Grassley, IA

Wayne Allard, CO

Mike Enzi, WY

Jeff Sessions, AL

Jim Bunning, KY

Mike Crapo, ID

John Ensign, NV

John Cornyn, TX

Lindsey Graham, SC