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Portland, Oregon- Nurses in Portland believe they know how to slow rates of chronic disease and thus reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs. Their solution: Involve more nurses in PREVENTION. Their proposal is designate an existing position, the Chief Nurse Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service as the National Nurse for Public Health. By doing so, Congress will provide more impetus to promote the Medical Reserve Corps, strengthen existing public health infrastructure, and mobilize available resources of willing nurses and other healthcare workers within each community to deliver and reinforce messages of disease prevention.
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Congressman Peter King (R-NY) agree and introduced H.R. 485 The National Nurse Act of 2013 on February 4, 2013. The bill has already garnered bipartisan support from 35 members of Congress, including the entire Oregon Congressional Delegation. As a national advocate for nursing actions to champion public health in all communities, the National Nurse for Public Health would collaborate with the Office of the Surgeon General to identify and address national health priorities; serve as a visible national spokesperson for engaging nurses in leadership, policy, and prevention efforts; and encourage health professionals to work with their local community programs to improve health.
Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE, Portland Community College Nurse Educator who serves as the President of the National Nursing Network Organization (NNNO) states, “We are delighted to have immediate bipartisan support for this legislation, and because it does not require any appropriation of funds, we hope Congress can agree to pass this quickly. As Congress and the President continue to negotiate to solve the country’s budget crisis, it would be wise to consider the financial impact that the seven most common chronic diseases have on our economy.”
Diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, and underlying causes such as obesity and tobacco use, affect more than 130 million Americans and contribute greatly to our out-of-control healthcare costs. According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, these conditions cost more than $1 trillion a year, and if there is no change, could balloon to nearly $6 trillion by 2050. Preventable and highly manageable chronic diseases account for 75 cents of every dollar we spend on healthcare in the U.S, every day, every year. Even more daunting, chronic disease costs consume more than 90 cents of every dollar spent on Medicare and Medicaid. In contrast, we spend less than 5 cents on prevention.
Robin Kimmel BSN, RN, member of the NNNO Advocacy Team states, “This legislation brings nurse, the most trusted profession, to the forefront in fulfilling a role they are accustomed to-keeping Americans well. It is time to have a full time, publically recognized nurse leader to represent nursing on the national level as an advocate for health promotion and disease prevention.”
For more information, visit http://nationalnurse.org