During their annual visit to Washington, 50 members of the Delaware Nurses Association (DNA) met with U.S. Senator Chris Coons on Thursday to discuss issues related to the nursing profession and federal legislation that would directly affect their work. The DNA was visiting Capitol Hill to meet with the American Nurses Association Government Affairs staff and members of the Delaware Congressional delegation.
"Nurses are the backbone of our health care system, working tirelessly day-in and day-out on behalf of their patients," Senator Coons said about the experience. "Delaware nurses have a lot on their minds, from hospital staffing to patient care. I always enjoy hearing from Delawareans who are in D.C. and I thank the Delaware Nurses Association for taking the time to chat with me about issues that are important to them and to our community's health."
Members of the DNA raised the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2011, of which Senator Coons is a cosponsor, which would extend the list of medical professionals who are allowed to certify or initiate home health care for Medicare patients to include: physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives. Currently, only physicians are allowed to order home health care services.
The nurses also discussed the U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services' Nursing Workforce Development programs to help stem the growing shortage of registered nurses. This funding is the primary source of Federal funding for nursing education.
"With Baby Boomers aging and more individuals seeking medical care, it's critical that we provide incentives to help inspire students to pursue careers in medicine," Senator Coons said. "The U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services predicts that by 2020, our nation will have a shortage of more than 1 million registered nurses. Hospitals that are properly staffed provide better-quality medical care, which, in turn, will improve the health of Delawareans and all Americans."
The Delaware Nurses Association is a non-profit professional organization for registered nurses in Delaware that was organized in 1911. Since 1916, DNA has been a constituent member of the American Nurses Association, which represents the interest of the nation's 3.1 million nurses. The mission of the DNA is to represent the interests of professional nurses in the state of Delaware and advocate for health care issues and legislation that achieves positive outcomes for all Delawareans. It also seeks to promote high standards of nursing practice, nursing education, and nursing research.