A Letter from the Deans’ Nursing Policy Coalition

U.S Capitol Building

Recently, deans from some of the nation’s top nursing schools sent a letter to congressional leaders. In it, they urged Congress to include nurses in the national discussion regarding the Affordable Care Act. Dean Linda Norman was one of the 10 deans signing the letter as part of the Deans’ Nursing Policy Coalition.

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, Minority Leader Schumer and Democratic Leader Pelosi:

We stand ready to work with you and your staff to improve and strengthen the nation’s health care system.

As deans of the top-ranking private schools of nursing in the U.S., who have been working together on policy issues of mutual interest, we congratulate you on your leadership positions in the 115th Congress.

We write today in preparation for the congressional debate about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and potential changes to federally sponsored health care coverage. We are concerned that to repeal the ACA without simultaneously enacting legislation with similar comprehensive coverage could jeopardize the nation’s health care system, affecting patients and the providers who care for them.

Policymakers of both parties share the common goal of ensuring Americans’ access to affordable health care options. We are concerned that a “repeal without replace” strategy could destabilize the health care delivery system and drive up costs.

Nurses care for our most vulnerable populations and our top-ranking schools of nursing actively engage with our healthcare system partners to educate the next generation of front-line registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, and researchers. Nurses are the largest sector of the healthcare workforce and play a critical role in assuring access to affordable, quality care. Our graduates work throughout our systems of care including hospitals, schools, homes, community health clinics, public health departments, and long-term-care facilities. Nursing is at the forefront of designing and testing new models of care to provide the most effective care at the lowest cost.

We believe it is important that nursing be part of the national conversation on the repeal and replacement of the ACA and any changes to Medicaid, Medicare or the insurance coverage of our citizens as nurses will provide care to those millions of patients who will be the recipients of care resulting from any changes to the coverage of their healthcare. As the most trusted profession, nurses can serve as expert communicators and quickly gauge the impact of health policy change on the lives of patients and their families. Nurses can provide a view “from the trenches” on the clinical and economic impact of health care policy proposals and we stand ready to share that experience with you. In addition, the advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists) throughout the U.S. have been shown to be an important resource in increasing access to care and provide quality care at reduced costs. Advanced practice providers can provide candid assessments of the progress and impact of initiatives to repeal and replace the ACA. Our nurse researchers drive the knowledge needed to provide the best care and prevent disease. We encourage you to reach out to the nursing leaders listed below, individually and collectively as barometers to provide candid, evidence-based evaluation and reactions in real time.

We stand ready to work with you and your staff to improve and strengthen the nation’s health care system.

Sincerely,

Mary E. Kerr, PhD, RN, FAAN
Co-Chair, Deans’ Nursing Policy Coalition
Dean and May L. Wykle Endowed Professorship in Nursing, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University

Linda A. McCauley, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAAOHN
Co-Chair, Deans’ Nursing Policy Coalition
Dean and Professor, Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

Marion Broome, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean of the School of Nursing; Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs, Duke University; and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for Nursing, Duke University Health System

Patricia Davidson, RN, BA, MEd, PhD, FAAN
Dean, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and Mary O’Neil Mundinger Professor Senior Vice President, Columbia University Medical Center

Ann Kurth PhD, RN, MPH, FAAN
Dean and Linda Koch Lorimer Professor, Yale University School of Nursing

Linda Norman, DSN, FN, FAAN
Dean and Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN
Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Kathy Rideout, EdD, PNP-BC, FNAP
Dean and Professor of Clinical Nursing, University of Rochester School of Nursing

Eileen Sullivan-Marx, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and Erline Perkins McGriff Professor, New York University College of Nursing

Image: 
Toni Smith, USGS