AACN Expresses Concern Over the President's Budget and its Potential Impact on the Nursing Workforce
The Obama Administration Recommends Level Funding for Nursing Education and Research
WASHINGTON, DC, March 6, 2014 - The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) expresses concern over the President’s FY 2015 Budget recommendations, which may impact the nation’s future supply of registered nurses. With the budget released earlier this week and details continuing to emerge, the Obama Administration recommends level funding for the Nursing Workforce Development programs (Title VIII, Public Health Service Act) at $223.841 million and near level funding for the National Institute of Nursing Research at $140.452 million.
“For 45 years, AACN has advocated for a robust federal investment to support America’s increasing demand for evidence-based, high quality, and cost-effective nursing services,” said AACN’s President Jane Kirschling. “AACN member schools are concerned that level funding for the Title VIII programs, which have been a mainstay in their ability to endure the current fiscal climate, will create even more hardship as they struggle to increase student capacity, develop the pool of qualified faculty, and weather spending cuts at the state and local levels.”
AACN recognizes that difficult choices must be made as the Administration works to implement a reformed healthcare delivery system. The organization commends the investments made to strengthen the health professions workforce through the National Health Service Corps, the commitment to team-based care through the new Clinical Training in Interprofessional Practice program, and the community-based infrastructures such as the Health Center program. However, the barriers AACN members face to increasing student capacity cannot be overcome without the support the Title VIII programs have provided. According to AACN’s most recent enrollment and graduations study, schools of nursing across the country could not accept nearly 80,000 qualified applications to their baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, primarily due to a shortage of faculty. With level funding to the Title VIII Nurse Faculty Loan Program in particular, addressing this challenge becomes increasingly difficult.
While AACN is concerned about the level funding proposed for nursing education and research, the association is pleased to see that the President’s budget is proposing $5.4 billion (over 10 years) to extend reimbursement to states for primary care services and, most significantly, to expand the eligibility of this payment to nurse practitioners and physician assistants. AACN has advocated for this policy change along with our colleagues in the advanced practice nursing community since the Medicaid Primary Care Payment was created.
In late March, AACN member deans and directors as well as students attending AACN’s Student Policy Summit will come to Washington, DC and encourage Congress to demonstrate their support for the nursing workforce. These advocates will provide federal legislators with the evidence and real-life scenarios to illustrate the need to invest in nursing.
“AACN will continue to work with Congress and our colleagues in the nursing community to support the largest segment of America’s healthcare workforce—nurses,” said Dr. Kirschling. “Our association is deeply committed to developing a strong interprofessional healthcare team, focused on the patient, in which all providers are utilized to their full extent of their education and training.”
At a time when our nation’s healthcare system is stressed by issues related to access, cost, and quality, AACN is committed to bolstering the nursing pipeline and increasing evidence-based science to meet this demand. During this budget process, AACN will share with Congress the many contributions the profession makes to America’s healthcare delivery system and fight for federal investments, such as the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs and the National Institute of Nursing Research, to be funded so these challenges can be met.
For more specific information on the President’s Department of Health and Human Services Budget, see: www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/health.pdf.
For the President’s Message to Congress, see: www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2014/assets/message.pdf.
For more information on AACN’s Appropriations Advocacy, see: www.aacn.nche.edu/government-affairs/appropriations.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 740 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. www.aacn.nche.edu