Tuesday, October 8th 2002

The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Hastert:

On behalf of a wide cross section of businesses, consumers and providers of critical health care services to tens of millions of Americans every day, we have joined together to urge you to support full funding of The Nurse Reinvestment Act (P.L. 107-205).  Signed by the President on August 1st, this new law promises to begin addressing the critical shortage of nursing personnel within our nation’s health care system.

The shortage is caused, in part, by the fact that the current nursing workforce is aging and that few young people are preparing to enter the profession.  According to a widely quoted study by the American Hospital Association, more than 126,000 hospital nursing positions are unfilled today.  With an additional 113,000 nurse and CNA vacancies in nursing homes today, this nation faces a serious health care workforce crisis.  Over the next decade, this crisis will only intensify as 78 million aging Baby Boomers begin placing unprecedented demands on America’s health care system.  To meet projected needs for nursing professionals, our nation must provide the means to recruit and educate at least 125,000 new registered nurses a year.

The Nurse Reinvestment Act establishes vital programs designed to help address this shortage and invigorate providers’ ability to deliver high quality health care.  The act expands nurse scholarships and loan repayment programs, establishes geriatric training grants and career ladder programs.  It provides loan programs to prepare faculty needed to educate the new generation of nurses.  It enhances patient care delivery systems through the implementation of “best practices” for nurse administration and provides funds for public service announcements to encourage people to enter the nursing profession.

The Nurse Reinvestment Act is the result of a strong bipartisan and bicameral effort.  It is good public policy directed toward addressing a growing crisis in our nation’s health care system.  We urge full funding for the programs the act authorizes ­­- programs that will work to ensure the integrity of our nation’s health system and its ability to deliver high quality care.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Association of Critical Care Nurses
American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
American College of Emergency Physicians
American College of Health Care Administrators
American College of Physicians – American Society of Internal Medicine
American College of Nurse-Midwives
American College of Nurse Practitioners
American Council on Education
American Health Care Association
American Hospital Association
American Medical Association
American Medical Directors Association
American Nephrology Nurses Association
American Nurses Association
American Psychiatric Nurses Association
American Organization of Nurse Executives
Association of Academic Health Centers
Association of American Medical Colleges
Career Staff Unlimited
Coalition of Women in Long Term Care
Colleagues in Caring: Regional Collaboratives for Nursing Work Force Development
Entrepreneurial Networking Group for Nurses
Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society
Extendicare Health Services Inc.
Federation of American Hospitals
Genesis Health Ventures
Integrated Health Services, Inc.
John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing
Johnson and Johnson
National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care
National Association of Geriatric Nursing Assistants
National Association for Home Care
National Association of Neonatal Nurses
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National Association Psychiatric Health Systems
National Center for Assisted Living
National Council of State Boards of Nursing
National Medical Association
National Organization of Associate Degree Nurses
National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties
National Rural Health Association
Premier Hospital Alliance
Service Employees International Union
Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc.
SunBridge Healthcare Corporation
Sun Healthcare Group, Inc.
United States Chamber of Commerce
VHA Inc.
Visiting Nurse Associations of America

This letter was also sent to each member of the House and Senate

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