A total of 49 nursing organizations wrote to the chairs of the U.S. House and Senate Budget committees, urging them to protect investments in nursing education and research programs from further cuts in fiscal year 2014.
The federal budget sequester, which took effect in FY 2013, reduced funding for the Nursing Workforce Development Programs by 8.2%. These programs include Title VIII programs and the Public Health Service Act. The groups noted 1.2 million additional RNs are projected to be needed by 2020.
If sequestration is allowed to continue, the nursing profession faces severe constraints in its ability to meet the healthcare needs of our nation, they wrote.
Democrats and Republicans in both chambers of Congress are trying to reach a budget agreement by early next year to avoid a repeat of Octobers federal government shutdown, as well as another threat of default on national debt payments.
Our organizations recognize the difficult fiscal and political climates in which the Committee must work, the nursing groups wrote. However, funding cuts to nursing education and research would have a detrimental impact on Americas nurses, the healthcare system and ultimately our patients.
In a previously released fact sheet, the groups, collectively known as the Nursing Community, projected some of the ramifications of the sequester funding cuts. In all, the proposed FY 2013 cuts to Title VIII would allow 4,129 fewer nurses and nursing students to be supported through the Title VIII programs. Further cuts in FY 2014 could exacerbate the shortfall.
In addition, sequestration threatens the development of groundbreaking research through funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health, including the National Institute of Nursing Research, the groups wrote.
NINR-supported research focuses on improving disease prevention and wellness promotion, which are essential in the national effort to reduce healthcare expenditures. Further budget cuts would disrupt the critical work put forth by NIH and NINR, thus limiting innovative progress.
Letter (from the Emergency Nurses Association website): www.ena.org/about/media/BreakingNews/Documents/NCLettertoBudgetConferenceCommittee.pdf
Sequestration fact sheet: (from the American Nurses Association website): www.nursingworld.org/SequestrationFactsheet.pdf