Title VIII Reauthorization Advances Out of the Senate HELP Committee

WASHINGTON, DC, October 31, 2019 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee for advancing S. 1399, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019, out of committee and to the Senate floor. This bipartisan bill strengthens the nursing pipeline and profession by aligning Title VIII with current trends and ensures that these important programs addressing nursing workforce demand, including education, practice, recruitment, and retention, have a five-year authorization. The Nursing Workforce Development Programs (Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. 296 et seq.]) are administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration.

"I know as a Title VIII recipient how indispensable these programs are to nursing students and the nursing profession throughout the country," said Dr. Ann Cary, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors. "We applaud the Senate HELP Committee for advancing this vital piece of legislation to the Senate floor."

"As the husband of a nurse, I've seen firsthand how important nurses are to patients, and how their support and advocacy can make the world of difference for patients at some of the most difficult and joyous moments of their lives," said Merkley. "We must do more to support our nurses by putting critical training and development programs within reach and addressing the nursing shortage. Today's HELP Committee vote is an important step towards accomplishing those goals, and I'm going to keep fighting to get this bill across the finish line and signed into law."

As we prepare the next generation of nurses and the faculty who educate them, AACN commends the Senate HELP Committee, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) for supporting the nursing profession. Additionally, we extend our deep appreciation to Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Senate Nursing Caucus Co-Chair and lead sponsor of S. 1399, and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), the original cosponsor, for their tireless efforts to introduce and champion this legislation.

"Innovating, improving, and sustaining our healthcare system requires a strong investment in nursing education and the nursing workforce," said Dr. Deborah Trautman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AACN. "We are proud to see that ongoing investment today through the advancement Title VIII Reauthorization."

"Day in and day out, Americans are touched by the care and compassion of nurses," said Senator Burr. "Today marks an important step forward in supporting our nation's nursing workforce. By investing in their education, training, and retention programs, we ensure quality health care for years to come. I am proud to work with Senator Merkley on this important legislation and I appreciate my HELP Committee colleagues supporting this measure today. I look forward to the Senate's passage."

AACN remains committed to passing the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act in the Senate and looks forward to working with our nursing champions to ensure that this legislation becomes law.

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About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing 825 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research and practice. See www.aacnnursing.org.