July 5, 2006
The Honorable ______________*
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
I am writing on behalf of the American Nephrology Nurses' Association (ANNA) to express disappointment in the allocation of $150 million (the same funding level as fiscal year (FY) 2006) for the nursing workforce programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the FY 2007 Labor-Health and Human Resources (LHHS) Appropriations bill. ANNA is a professional nursing organization of more than 12,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals that exists to advance nephrology nursing practice and positively influence outcomes for patients with kidney or other disease processes requiring replacement therapies through advocacy, scholarship, and excellence.
The nation is facing a nursing shortage of unprecedented proportion. At the same time the nursing shortage is expected to worsen, the number of people with end stage renal disease (ESRD) needing access to state-of-the art treatment and care is estimated to increase significantly. ESRD is largely a disease of the elderly and as our population ages, increasing numbers of Americans will require nephrology-related services. Currently, more than 350,000 Americans have ESRD. Nephrology nurses are critical to the delivery of high quality care to individuals suffering from renal impairment and as the need for renal-related services and care increases, so will the demands for nursing professionals to provide their care.
While a number of years ago one of the largest factors associated with the nursing shortage was the lack of interested and qualified applicants, now due to the efforts of the nursing community and other interested stakeholders, the number of applicants is growing. As such, now one of the greatest factors contributing to the shortage is that nursing programs are turning away qualified applicants to entry-level baccalaureate programs due to a shortage of nursing faculty. The number of full-time nursing faculty required to fill the nursing gap is approximately 40,000 and currently there are less than 20,000 full-time nursing faculty in the system. Additionally, significant numbers of faculty are expected to retire in the coming years with insufficient numbers of candidates in the pipeline to take their places.
In order to ensure that the nation continues to fight the nursing shortage head on, the nursing workforce programs at HRSA need increased funding. To that end, ANNA respectfully requests that you work with your colleagues in the Senate to secure $175 million in FY 2007 for these important programs. With additional funding, these important programs will be able to continue to address the multiple factors contributing to the nationwide nursing shortage, including the shortage of faculty a principal factor contributing to the current shortage.
Please know that we recognize that the Congress faces unprecedented fiscal challenges and, as such, ANNA stands ready to work with you and your colleagues to increase funding to $175 million for these important nursing workforce programs in FY 2007. Should you have any questions or if we can be of any assistance to you or your staff on this or other kidney or nursing matters, please do not hesitate to contact us or our Washington DC Health Policy Associates, Christine Murphy (202-230-5159, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jim Twaddell (202-230-5130, email@example.com).
JoAnne Gilmore, BSN, RN, CNN
*A personal letter was sent to the following members of the House Labor Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee:
The Honorable Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
The Honorable Kay Granger (R-TX)
The Honorable Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
The Honorable Ernest Istook (R-OK)
The Honorable Jesse Jackson (D-IL)
The Honorable Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
The Honorable Nita Lowey (D-NY)
The Honorable Anne Northup (R-KY)
The Honorable David Obey (D-WI)
The Honorable John Peterson (R-PA)
The Honorable Ralph Regula (R-OH)
The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
The Honorable Don Sherwood (R-PA)
The Honorable Michael Simpson (R-ID)
The Honorable James Walsh (R-NY)
The Honorable Dave Weldon (R-FL)
The Honorable Roger Wicker (R-MS)