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AHA Advocacy Update: Healthcare Workforce

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has been busy advocating on the healthcare workforce front. This week AHA issued a letter of support for the reintroduction of the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees Act and issued a statement to the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee for the legislative hearing on federal programs to strengthen the health care workforce and primary care.

AHA supports bipartisan bill to protect health care workers from violence

AHA today applauded the reintroduction of the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees Act (H.R. 2584), bipartisan legislation that would give health care workers the same legal protections against assault and intimidation that flight crews and airport workers have under federal law. The bill also would establish a federal grant program at the Department of Justice to augment hospitals’ efforts to reduce violence, by funding violence prevention training programs, coordination with state and local law enforcement, and physical plant improvements, such as metal detectors and panic buttons.

“Over the past few years, health care workers across the nation have experienced a sharp increase in incidences of workplace violence, with no sign that this trend is receding,” AHA said in a letter of support to the bill’s sponsors, Reps. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., and Madeleine Dean, D-Pa. “Despite the diligent efforts of hospitals and health systems to prevent violence, health care workers remain five times more likely than any other type of worker to be physically attacked on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

See the statement on the legislation from Robyn Begley, AHA chief nursing officer and senior vice president of workforce and CEO of AHA’s American Organization for Nursing Leadership affiliate, that was shared with the media this afternoon.

House holds hearing on proposals to strengthen health care workforce

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee today held a legislative hearing on federal programs to strengthen the health care workforce and primary care.

In a statement submitted for the hearing, AHA voiced support for three bills under consideration: the Strengthening Community Care Act (H.R. 2559), which would extend funding for the National Health Service Corps and community health centers; the National Nursing Workforce Center Act (H.R. 2411), which would provide grants to state and regional nursing workforce centers to support research on the most effective recruitment and retention programs; and the Securing the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Act (H.R. 2544), which would increase the budget and make programmatic improvements to the OPTN.

AHA also urged Congress to enact the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing Act, which would provide resources to support nursing students, retain and hire diverse faculty, modernize nursing education infrastructure, and create and expand clinical education opportunities; and the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees Act (H.R. 2584), which would provide federal protections for health care workers and funding for hospital violence prevention programs.

AHA also emphasized the need for lawmakers to reauthorize and fund Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs and Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education Program; increase the number of residency slots eligible for Medicare funding; expedite visas for foreign-trained nurses and physicians to serve in medically underserved areas; allow for innovative staffing models; support health care workforce well-being; and protect access to the 340B drug pricing program, among other actions.

To stay up to date on AHA new, visit their website.

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