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Statements On Introduced Bills And Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



S. 1569. A bill to expand our Nation's Advanced Practice Registered Nurse workforce; to the Committee on Finance.

Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce legislation to address our growing workforce shortage. I am pleased to be joining my good friend, Congresswoman Lois Capps, a nurse herself, in introducing this legislation. Our legislation is supported by AARP, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the American College of Nurse Practitioners, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American Nurses Association, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

Since its creation in 1965, Medicare has provided some support for the costs of nursing education. While relatively small as compared to support for graduate medical education for physicians, $150 million vs. $9 billion per year, Medicare has for many years been the largest federal source of funding for nurse training. While nursing education and patient care needs have changed tremendously since 1965, Medicare's policy in this area has not kept up to date.

My bill amends Medicare to provide incentives to expand the number of advanced practice registered nurses, APRN, trained and to prepare them to undertake the essential cost-saving reforms to our health care delivery system: an increased focus on primary and preventive care, improved coordination of care, access to primary care and anesthesia services in rural and medically underserved areas, and enhanced efforts to reduce costly medical errors that will lower health care costs and improve patient care. This legislation also focuses on training nurses in community-based settings, such as community health centers, rural clinics and individual health professional offices, arming them with the practical clinical experience they need.

The respected economic analysis firm The Lewin Group has conducted a thorough analysis of this proposal. They found that it would increase the number of APRNs graduating by 25 percent. This is a very significant increase and one that is greatly needed. Additionally, training more APRNs will help us develop more faculty, which are desperately needed to train the next generation of nurses. Every nursing school dean in Michigan has told me that this is a huge issue to them.

This relatively modest investment in APRNs will provide Americans, especially those in rural and other areas of health care shortages, with the primary and preventive care, care coordination, and chronic care management they too often lack today.

At a time when our country faces a shortage of healthcare professionals, funding for the clinical education of APRNs, including nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists is vitally important to meet the demand for expanded health care, which is expected under a newly reformed delivery system.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that a letter of support be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record


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