Letter to members of the House Labor Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee requesting support for increased funding in Fiscal Year 2007 for programs to help ensure an adequate nursing workforce as well increased funding f...

May 25, 2006

The Honorable ______________*

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC  20515

Dear Representative*:

On behalf of the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association (ANNA) – 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 – I am writing to respectfully request  your support for increased funding in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 for programs to help ensure an adequate nursing workforce to care for people with kidney disease as well increased funding for diabetes and kidney disease research to identify better treatments, preventive interventions, and develop a cure.

Ensure an Adequate Nursing Workforce to Care for a

Growing Population of People with Kidney Disease

As you know, 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. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that nursing shortages in hospitals are associated with a higher risk of complications – such as urinary tract infections and pneumonia, longer hospital stays, and even patient death. Nephrology nurses are critical to the delivery of high quality care to individuals suffering from renal impairment. As the need for renal-related services and care increases, so will the demands for nursing professionals to provide their care.  

To that end, ANNA supports $175 million in FY 2007 for the Nursing Workforce Programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). 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.

Sustain and Seize Research Opportunities

Our nation has profited immensely from our past federal investment in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and we have seen extraordinary advances in cancer research resulting from our national investment that have produced effective prevention, early detection, and treatment methods for many cancers. As such, ANNA joins with the rest of the public health community in advocating for $29.7 billion for NIH in FY 2007. 

Additionally, ANNA urges Congress to support increased funding for diabetes and kidney disease research at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to improve treatment and prevention and identify a cure. Additional FY 2007 funding for NIDDK will help advance our nation’s understanding of the risk factors associated with kidney disease, boost efforts to identify ways in which kidney disease can be reduced and prevented, and increase initiatives to improve care and treatment of individuals with chronic kidney disease as well as those with ESRD.

The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) supports clinical and basic research to establish a scientific basis for the care of individuals across the life span-from management of patients during illness and recovery to the reduction of risks for disease and disability, the promotion of healthy lifestyles, promoting quality of life in those with chronic illness, and care for individuals at the end of life. Importantly, NINR research also focuses on the special needs of at-risk and under-served populations, with an emphasis on health disparities, such as those seen among the ESRD population. These efforts are crucial in the creation of scientific advances and their translation into cost-effective health care that does not compromise quality. ANNA is pleased to join with others in the nursing community in advocating a FY 2007 allocation of $150 million for NINR.

Stem the Tide of Kidney Disease with Adequate FY 2007 Investments

ANNA is very concerned that without increased funding for the agencies and programs listed above, we will fall short of what is necessary to ensure that our nation adequately supports kidney disease research and the country’s nursing workforce.  As such, we very much appreciate your attention to – and thank you in advance for your support of – our requests for increased FY 2007 funding for the nursing workforce and kidney disease research and related programs. 

Please know that ANNA stands ready to work with policymakers to advance policies and programs that will reduce and prevent suffering from kidney disease.  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, cmurphy@gcd.com) and Jim Twaddell (202-230-5130, jtwaddell@gcd.com).

Sincerely,

JoAnne Gilmore, BSN, RN, CNN

President

 

*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)