The Senate has one number: $165.3 billon and the House has another: $160.2 billion, or $5.1 billion less. With a big gap between the House and the Senate budget numbers for the labor, health and education funding, the negotiations for the fiscal year 2012 budget and a continuing resolution could be continuous.
ANA held a Congressional briefing on September 27 on Capitol Hill, urging lawmakers to support the bipartisan “Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2011” (H.R. 2267/ S.227). The legislation would remove a federal barrier to practice in Medicare by ensuring that APRNs and PAs can sign home health plans – current law puts an undue burden on the patient, leading to delays in home health services and increased costs for patients. During the briefing ANA also highlighted compelling results from a new study that found implementation of the law will lead to a cost savings of $309 million over ten years for Medicare.
On Wednesday, September 28th over one thousand nurses from all across the country took part in ANA’s first ever Home Health Virtual Lobby Day. Hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls were made to members of Congress by their nurse constituents urging them to support legislation that will remove a barrier to practice in Medicare by ensuring APRNs can sign home health plans of care. The feedback has been positive and already we’re starting to see results as members of Congress continue to sign on as co-sponsors to this important legislation.
Within the past two weeks, ANA hosted two annual events designed to bring individuals together from the ANA’s Constituent/State Nurses Associations (C/SNAs) to consolidate intelligence around nursing policy issues and identify strategies to address them. These events were the ANA – C/SNA Lobbyist meeting and the American Nurses Advocacy Institute.
Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded millions of dollars in funds under the Affordable Care Act to support primary and mental health care in community settings.
ANA submitted formal comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) responding to proposed rules that directly impact the practice of nursing, especially in home health care and hospital outpatient services. Even nurses who don’t work in these areas may have patients or know someone affected by these policies. Final rules responding to our comments are due out later this year. These, and other ANA regulatory comments, are available on Nursing World, at http://www.nursingworld.org/comments.