HAP's Latest News

Special Issue: Nurse Ambassador Advocacy Day

May 21, 2024

By John Myers, vice president, federal advocacy, and Sarah Lawver, senior director, legislative and grassroots advocacy.

Nurse Ambassador Advocacy Day: Telling Your Story

This year, federal lawmakers will make policy decisions that matter to you.

Votes in the U.S. House and Senate will decide future reimbursement to hospitals. They'll also direct workplace violence efforts and investments in our workforce. HAP tracks these issues closely and our staff helps lawmakers understand your needs.

But Congress also needs to hear from you.

Today, HAP's Nurse Ambassadors visited with Pennsylvania's congressional delegation to advocate on behalf of the hospital community. Nurse Ambassadors are leaders within their hospitals and leaders in HAP's advocacy. Today, they brought real stories to lawmakers that they will remember when it's time to cast their votes.

We're proud to share your voice with lawmakers and deeply thankful for this partnership across Pennsylvania's hospital community. Below are a few key priorities and themes from an exciting day of advocacy.

1. Support for the SAVE Act

Nurse Ambassador Advocacy Day

Hospital staff are five times more likely than average to experience workplace violence. The Nurse Ambassadors urged lawmakers to join the support for the bipartisan Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act.

The legislation is modeled after federal protections for airline workers and would establish federal, criminal penalties for those who knowingly assault and intimidate hospital employees.

The House Bill also would authorize grant funding for initiatives to reduce violence in hospitals. The legislation has strong support, particularly among Pennsylvania's delegation. Representative Madeleine Dean (D-4) first introduced the bill in 2022 and has been calling on her colleagues to act now to support it,

Other Pennsylvania co-sponsors include Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-1), Chrissy Houlahan (D-6), Susan Wild (D-7), Daniel Meuser (R-9), John Joyce (R-13), Guy Reschenthaler (R-14), Glenn Thompson (R-15), Mike Kelly (R-16), and Christopher Deluzio (D-17).

Advocacy Day Takeaway:  The SAVE Act will help give hard-working professionals the protections they deserve.

Learn more about this important effort to protect the health care workforce.

2. Hospital Sustainability is Paramount

Nurse Ambassador Advocacy Day

Hospitals cannot fulfill their mission without sustainable finances.

The Nurse Ambassadors highlighted the critical role Congress plays to support hospitals and their communities. This year, lawmakers are expected to consider potential Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital cuts, site-neutral payment policies, and the physician payment schedule, among other health care priorities.

With costs of providing care increasing, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have fallen behind, putting patient access to essential health care services at risk.

Advocacy Day Takeaway:  Hospitals rely on federal reimbursement to maintain essential services to patients and current payments are not keeping up with the cost to provide care. Medicare and Medicaid payment reductions and site-neutral payments would be detrimental to hospitals and our communities.

3. Supporting the Workforce

Nurse Ambassador Advocacy Day

Hospitals are making strides to develop, recruit, and retain health care professionals, and Congress can support these efforts.

Today's key discussion points included:

  • The impact of long-term health care workforce shortages across communities.
  • The urgency to address high vacancy rates across the board in Pennsylvania, particularly for nursing and nursing support staff.
  • The commonwealth’s unique health care needs, as more residents reach retirement age.

Advocacy Day Takeaway:  Congress can support hospitals and their teams by increasing Graduate Medical Education slots and allocating funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration for nursing education.

Nurse Ambassador Advocacy Day

The HAP Nurse Ambassador Program empowers nurse leaders and emerging nurse leaders to educate state and congressional lawmakers about issues impacting hospital teams and patients—including addressing the nursing shortage, preventing workplace violence, supporting staff wellbeing, and developing innovative collaborative care models.

For more information, contact Sarah Lawver, senior director, legislative and grassroots advocacy. For more about HAP's federal priorities, contact John Myers, vice president, federal advocacy.