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Thursday, March 6th 2003

The Honorable Thomas Tancredo
U.S. House of Representatives
1130 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Rep. Tancredo:

The American Hospital Association (AHA) commends your efforts to address the nursing workforce shortage in your bill, the “Nurse Loan Forgiveness Act of 2003,” H.R.501, and is pleased to support your legislation.  We believe your bill is an important component in the overall strategy of addressing the national nursing shortage.

The AHA represents nearly 5,000 hospitals, health systems, networks and other health care provider members.

Hospitals and health care facilities across America are experiencing a critical shortage of nurses.  A recent AHA survey of the workforce shows that there are currently up to 126,000 registered nurses (RNs) needed by hospitals today.  The need for nurses will be further compounded by the potential health care demands of the looming 78 million aging “baby boomers” who will also begin to retire in 2010.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects that by 2020, our nation will need 3 million nurses, 1 million more than the projected supply.

The current nursing shortage is creating an environment with the potential to jeopardize hospitals’ ability to provide timely access to non-emergency as well as emergency services.  An inadequate number and mix of personnel has caused some facilities to close beds, put emergency rooms on “divert” status, delay elective surgeries, and pare down hospital services.

Hospitals have enlisted many innovative strategies and creative approaches to address the nursing shortage, but this is a complex problem that cannot be solved by hospitals alone.  The role of the federal government is critical in the support and funding of an adequate nursing workforce.

Your bill, the “Nurse Loan Forgiveness Act of 2003,” will help alleviate the nursing shortage by encouraging young people to enter and continue in the nursing profession.  It will help ensure an adequate supply of nurses to meet the future needs of our nation.

Helping to alleviate the critical shortage of nurses is a priority for health care providers.  We applaud your effort and pledge to work with you to address this very important issue.


Rick Pollack

Executive Vice President

This letter was also sent to Rep. Loretta Sanchez

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