Greetings and happy spring!
One sure sign that spring is upon us is NAPNAP’s annual Day on the Hill event. This year, 20 NAPNAP members including six chosen NAPNAP Advocacy Scholars, met in Washington, D.C. on Monday evening and Tuesday, March 30th and 31st, to advocate for child health issues and removal of barriers from APRN practice. It was an exciting event and many valuable visits were made to Congressional offices and House and Senate Committee offices on behalf of children and their families.
A number of us, including the six NAPNAP Advocacy Scholars, attended the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Health Policy Conference on Sunday and Monday prior to NAPNAP’s Capitol Hill Day events. We heard advocacy advice from former Congressmen and Congressional staff members. A speaker from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) presented regulatory issues. Other presentations included advocacy basics, review of NP legislation currently under Congressional consideration, and positive findings from a recently published study regarding improved patient outcomes in states with full practice authority.
Michele Stickel, NAPNAP’s Director of Marketing and Strategic Projects, did an outstanding job securing all of the Congressional appointments for attendees and taking care of all planning for this successful event. Health Policy Chair, Laura Searcy, and Governmental Affairs Director, Dave Mason, provided attendees with an excellent presentation of advocacy tips and briefings on our key legislative priorities. This year, NAPNAP Capitol Hill Day attendees discussed numerous issues with Congressional and Committee staffers including:
- Encouraging the Senate to pass H.R. 2, a bill recently passed by the House that repeals the sustainable growth rate (SGR fix) and ensures appropriate funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan for two more years.
- Support for Title VIII funding for nurse, APRN, and nurse faculty education.
- Support for S. 578/ H.R. 1342 - Home Health Planning Improvement Act of 2015 to allow NPs and other APRNs to certify patients for home care and hospice care for Medicare.
- Support for S. 142/H.R. 1375 – Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015.
- Support for S. 298/H.R. 546 – Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act.
My favorite part of the trip to D.C. was the valuable time spent with NAPNAP members during our dinner and legislative updates Monday evening, and our time spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Attendees were split into groups led by a NAPNAP member with Capitol Hill experience. In particular, it was absolutely fantastic to watch recent past NAPNAP Advocacy Scholars confidently share their expertise, coach, and lead a team of new scholars! They exemplified what our Day on the Hill event is all about—teaching and mentoring NAPNAP members to become advocacy experts so that they, in turn, can teach and mentor the next group of advocates.
Having spent time with our six new NAPNAP Advocacy Scholars and the other Day on the Hill attendees, one thing I know for sure—our advocacy future is in very bright and capable hands!
Yours in health,