1. Artz, Michelle

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Each Congressional session, thousands of bills are introduced, many of which deal with health care and nursing issues. Most of these bills will never move out of committee for a vote by the House or Senate, and even fewer are approved by Congress and signed into law. The ANA monitors the many nursing and health care bills introduced each session, and this article outlines a few recently introduced bills that the ANA has supported. For a full overview of the ANA's Federal Legislative and Regulatory priorities and current information on the status of priority issues and legislation such as funding for nursing workforce development, Medicaid reimbursement for advanced practice registered nurses, safe staffing and mandatory overtime measures, visit



The ANA has submitted a letter of support for the Flu Protection Act of 2005 (S 375, HR 813), which offers a comprehensive approach designed to prevent future vaccine shortages and prepare the nation for a potential flu pandemic. The bill's sponsors are Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Larry Craig (R-ID) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Representative Rahm Emmanuel (D-IL).


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there has never been a year when everyone in recommended groups received the vaccine. Last year, this problem was exacerbated by the loss of nearly half the nation's expected supply because of contamination in a single manufacturing plant in the United Kingdom, precipitating another flu vaccine shortage that left many Americans waiting in lines for flu shots or forgoing them altogether. Ten percent to 30% of the U.S. population contracts flu every year. In an average year, flu kills 36,000 people in the United States and causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations, although the numbers could be much higher. The flu pandemic of 1918 killed an estimated 675,000 Americans.


The Flu Protection Act of 2005 will help provide a long-term solution to our nation's flu vaccine supply problems. The bill would


* remove the economic disincentive for manufacturers to produce an ample supply, through a government fallback purchase guarantee program.


* create financial incentives to encourage investment in domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity.


* increase public awareness about who should be vaccinated and make sure families receive accurate information on the importance of the vaccine.


* provide funding for research into improved vaccine technologies, and require the development of a protocol to disseminate the vaccine to those who need it the most in an emergency and to address other pandemic preparedness issues.




The ANA is pleased to endorse the Nurse Faculty Education Act of 2005 (S 1575). Introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the bill establishes a nurse faculty education program at schools of nursing to expand the supply of doctorally prepared nurse faculty in states where there is a severe nursing shortage. Data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and estimates from the National League for Nursing (NLN) show that an alarming number of qualified applicants are being turned away from baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral programs. Seventy-six percent of schools report insufficient faculty as the primary reason for not accepting qualified applicants.


The Nurse Faculty Education Act of 2005 addresses the urgent need for doctorally prepared faculty, a need we must meet if we are to overcome the growing nursing shortage. It is now more important than ever that all qualified applicants seeking a nursing education have the opportunity to study and enter the profession.



Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) has introduced the Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention Act (HR 898), which would provide resources to ensure greater public consciousness as well as proper education of nurses and other health care professionals, so that they can recognize stroke warning signs and symptoms; it would also ensure adequate hospital equipment for the most effective care. The ANA supports the bill as an excellent step toward preventing stroke by educating the nation about the warning signs of stroke, and also treating those who are at risk or suffer from the debilitating effects of stroke.