WASHINGTON—AARP Senior Vice President Susan Reinhard issued the following statement after Tuesday’s introduction of S.1569 in the U.S. Senate:
“As the nation’s aging population continues to increase, so does the need for comprehensive care – particularly for those who may not be able to afford it. What’s more, the U.S. is facing a shortage of nurses projected to reach 260,000 over the next 15 years. Yet, according to the Center to Champion Nursing in America, the nation’s nursing schools are unable to educate the nurses needed now and in the future because of major faculty and resource shortages.
“This legislation reinforces the critical need to modernize Medicare’s support for nursing education as a part of overall health care reform. Also, it emphasizes primary and preventive care, transitional care, chronic care management and care coordination; enhances access for rural and medically underserved populations; and reduces costly medical errors.
“In order to better meet the health care needs of people in Medicare, the proposal revises the way Medicare pays for nursing education in two significant ways. It would expand the current focus to nursing education at the graduate level. It would also expand clinical education provided through Medicare funding to include home and community-based settings as well as hospitals, using affiliations between accredited schools of nursing and community-based health care settings.
“The bill introduced by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) would produce 25 percent more highly skilled advanced practice nurses and in turn more effectively and efficiently improve care for the millions of Americans who depend on Medicare. AARP salutes Senator Stabenow’s efforts to make nursing education a key priority in health care reform.”