2018 Policy News

The Academy serves the public and the nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis, and dissemination of nursing knowledge. Fellows leverage their expertise to provide the critical knowledge, and analysis, summary, and integration for transforming health policy and practice. The Academy advances evidence based innovations in health care delivery to address the health needs of populations, including diverse, at-risk, and disenfranchised populations.

Outreach to policymakers in Congress and the Administration and collaboration with key national stakeholders shape policy and ensures that nurses' solutions are integrated into a quality health care system.

2018 Policy Responses

  • September 21: The Academy signed on as a lead 'Amici curiae' (friend of the court) in a new brief filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in the case Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al. At issue are the two Interim Final Rules (IFR) that threaten to take away the no-cost contraceptive coverage required under the Affordable Care Act from countless women.  The IFRs would allow any employer or health insurance provider to exclude contraceptive coverage by invoking religious or moral objections. The amicus brief argues that overwhelming evidence establishes that access to the full range of FDA-approved prescription contraceptives is an essential component of effective health care for women. Read the brief here
  • September 11: The Academy Joined more than 90 other organizations in signing on to a letter criticizing CVS Caremark's decision to incorporate the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s value-based drug pricing analyses in some of its coverage choices. The letter to CVS President and CEO Larry J. Merlo states in part: “Policy decisions based on cost-effectiveness ignore important differences among patients and instead rely on a single, one-size-fits-all assessment. Further, cost-effectiveness analysis discriminates against the chronically ill, the elderly and people with disabilities, using algorithms that calculate their lives as ‘worth less’ than people who are younger or non-disabled.” (Read the letter.)
  • August 30: The Academy joined with 44 other Nursing Community Coalition organizations in signing on to a welcome letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie asking for a meeting to discuss certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) full practice authority within VA facilities. Three APRNs (nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse-midwives) were included in a recent rule granting full practice authority within VA health facilities, but CRNAs were not included. Read the letter here.
  • August 22: The Academy was pleased to endorse Senator Kamala Harris’ Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (CARE) Act, which she introduced on August 22. The bill would create two grant programs that aim to reduce maternal mortality rates, with a focus on addressing the racial disparities in maternal mortality. Read more here.
  • August 16: The Academy signed on to a letter organized by the National Partnership for Women & Families expressing concern for what Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would mean for women and girls with pre-existing conditions. The letter, delivered to the US Senate on August 21, read in part: “Cases involving the ACA's  prohibition on discrimination based on preexisting conditions are working their way through the court system and may, ultimately, end up at the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh already expressed his opposition to the ACA…We urge the Senate to stand with the millions of women and girls who would be left without affordable, comprehensive, quality care and to reject Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”
  • July 26: The Academy submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services in response to the proposed rule entitled Compliance with Statutory Program Integrity Requirements, which would significantly and detrimentally alter the Title X Family Planning Program, the only federal program dedicated to providing low ­income patients with access to family planning and preventive health services and information. (Read the letter)  
  • June 19:: The Academy issued a statement strongly urging DHS Secretary Nielsen and Attorney General Sessions to reverse the policy guidance on “Zero Tolerance Immigration Prosecutions” that separates immigrant refugee children from their parents upon crossing the U.S. border. Studies support that forcibly separating children from their parents increases the likelihood of toxic stress levels for these children, and may have long-lasting negative effects on their health and psychological wellbeing.  The Academy has long supported the reduction of toxic stress associated with adverse childhood experiences to improve the health of the nation. (Read the statement.)
  • June 19: In addition to its own statement (see above), the Academy was one of 33 Nursing Community Coalition organizations that signed on to a letter to DHS Secretary   Nielsen imploring the Administration to protect the health and wellness of immigrant children. In the letter, the Coalition, representing a cross section of nursing education, research, practice, and regulation, requested that immediate action be taken to reverse the policy guidance on “Zero Tolerance Immigration Prosecutions” that separates immigrant children from their parents. (Read the letter)
  • May 23: The Academy issued a statement urging the Trump-Pence Administration to remove the “gag” rule on Title X -- one of the nation’s primary birth control and reproductive health care programs.  The gag rule removes the guarantee that a Title X patient receives full and accurate information about their health care from their providers. (Read the statement.) 
  • May 14: The Academy co-signed a letter with FamiliesUSA and other organizations to congressional leadership urging Congress to reject changes to the 340B program that would limit access to affordable, clinically appropriate, pharmaceuticals for low-income, uninsured, underinsured, and other vulnerable patients. (Read the letter.)
  • May 9: The Academy was pleased to co-sign a letter with FamiliesUSA and other organizations to DHHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing deep concerns regarding the ineffectiveness of Medicaid demonstration waiver evaluations as documented by the GAO that indicated "CMS has not released available evaluation results from the multi-state evaluation nor set time frames for making these and future federal evaluation findings public."  (Read the letter.)
  • April 18: The Academy provided official comments on a proposed rule of the DHHS, DOL, and IRS that would expand short-term limited-duration insurance plans. The Academy urged that the rule not be finalized because many individuals who rely on comprehensive coverage - including women, older adults, and people with chronic conditions - would be left without affordable, comprehensive options. The proposed rule rescinds restrictions on short-term plans, allowing insurers to offer inadequate policies to millions of consumers. These plans exclude coverage for important health care services and pre-existing conditions; vary premium rates by gender, health status, and age; and put individuals and families at significant financial risk. (Read the comments.)
  • April 11: The Academy was pleased to co-sign a letter with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Women's Refugee Commission to ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan calling on ICE to refrain from detaining pregnant individualsand reinstitute a presumption of release. (Read the letter.) 
  • April 11: Anticipating the introduction of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018,  the Academy was pleased to co-sign a letter to the Congressional Health Task Force Co-Chairs in support of the legislation. Introduced every Congress by leaders of the Congressional Black, Hispanic and Asian and Pacific American Caucuses concerned with health equity, the HEAA addresses through enhanced reporting, technology infrastructure, workforce diversity, and culturally appropriate health care the intersections of race and ethnicity with age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, language, immigration status, and socio-economic status. 
  • April 11: The Academy was pleased to join with the Nursing Community Coalition to co-sign a letter to the Chair of the Senate Health, Labor, Education & Pensions Committee offering comments in response to draft legislation, The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, urging the Committee to use provider-neutral language and incorporate all APRN roles in the legislation to expand access to care for patients with opioid addictions. (Read the letter.) 
  • March 28: The Academy was pleased to join with Families USA and other organizations to co-sign a letter urging Congress to take a step towards addressing the public health emergency of gun violence and formally repeal the "Dickey Amendment" to allow federal health agencies to conduct research into the causes, effects, and evidence-based prevention of gun violence. (Read the letter.) 
  • March 27: The ANA and the Academy submitted a joint letter to the U.S. DHHS on the Conscience Note of Proposed Rule Making (RIN 0945-ZA03) urging that the Office of Civil Rights proposed rules be rescinded. The comments urge that the Office of Civil Rights create a standard for health systems and individual practices to ensure prompt, easy access to critical health care services if an individual provider has a moral or ethical objection to certain health care services. The comment letter states that in health care practice, patients come first, and DHHS must strike an equitable balance between conscientious objections and patients’ rights. (Read the letter.
  • March 2: Working with the Nursing Community Coalition, the Academy co-signed a letter to Representative Stephanie Murphy thanking her for introducing the Gun Violence Research Act (H.R. 1478), which would enable researchers to study gun violence to create a safer future and to share the research publicly. Previously, the Academy joined the March for Science and American Psychological Association in an open letter to Congress calling for increased funding for gun violence research. (Read the letter)
  • February 27: The American Academy of Nursing delivered a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to launch a bipartisan National Commission on Mass Shootings. The letter was cosigned by 96 organizations,  (Read the letter.)
  • January 8: The American Academy of Nursing was pleased to co-sign letters to Senate and House leadership urging Congress to fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and its critical research at a level equal to or higher than the Senate mark of $324 million in the FY 2018 omnibus. AHRQ is an essential element of the nation’s health care system, charged with improving the quality and delivery of health care. Funding AHRQ will help to ensure that our health care system becomes the most efficient for both patients and taxpayers. (Read Letters