Sunday, February 18 , 2018, 7:39 pm | Fair 55º

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House Passes Two Health-Related Capps Bills

The House of Representatives has approved two health-related bills co-authored by Rep. Lois Capps, D., 24th Dist. The bills are the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2713) and the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act (H.R. 1209). Both passed unanimously and now go to the Senate for consideration.

“I am so pleased to see these important pieces of health care legislation pass the House today,” Capps said.

“As a nurse for more than 30 years, I am keenly aware of the important roles nurses play in the health care delivery system and how critical it is that women have access to maternity care when they need it. And yet, far too many people lack access to care simply due to a shortage of health care providers.

"These bills harness the power of proven programs to help tackle these access issues and get nurses and maternity care providers to the areas that need them most.

"I thank my colleagues across the aisle, Reps. (Michael) Burgess and (David) Joyce, for sharing my dedication to these important issues, and I am proud that together we have led these bipartisan efforts to ensure that many of our fellow Americans get the health care they need.”

The Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act, co-authored with Ohio Republican Rep. David Joyce, would reauthorize federal nursing workforce programs that help to train and maintain the nation’s highly skilled nurses.

The programs were first authorized 50 years ago to bolster nursing education and the nursing workforce by supporting nursing education at all levels, including entry-level and graduate study, providing loan repayment and incentives for nurses to work in underserved areas or to serve as nursing faculty.

That program increased the number of slots for new students, and provided support for nurses who focus on caring for the aging population.

Capps is founder and co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus. She authored the 2002 Nursing Reinvestment Act — now law — upon which H.R. 2713 builds. The bill is supported by more than 50 nursing organizations and more than 70 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives.

“I know that nurses are the backbone of our health care delivery system,” said Capps. “But far too many communities do not have enough trained nurses to meet their health care needs.

"For half a century, Title VIII Nursing Workforce programs have made important gains in recruiting the best nursing students, getting them trained, and keeping them in the field. This bipartisan reauthorization effort will ensure that nurses continue to meet our nation’s health care system needs now and in the future,” she said.
Said Joyce: “As the husband of a nurse, I have seen first-hand how important nurses are. Patients depend on their care and doctors depend on their help. Nurses are at the heart of our health care system and our country’s dependence on them is only going to grow.

"The projected need for nurses in the coming years has only increased as more people enroll in health insurance and individuals age into Medicare. That is why I am excited that this act invests in the nursing workforce and ensures all communities have access to the best health care possible.”

Capps co-authored the Improving Access to Maternity Care bill with Texas Republican Rep. Michael C. Burgess. This bill would support improved data collection on maternity care shortages so maternity care professionals in the National Health Service Corps are better allocated to communities in need.

The National Health Service Corps provides loan repayment and scholarships in exchange for health care providers’ willingness to work in underserved areas, typically rural or urban locals.

Currently, maternity care professionals in the National Health Service Corps, including Ob-GYNs and nurse midwives, are placed based on a shortage of primary care services, without regard to the level of maternity care available in those locations. This bill would better target these professionals based on maternity care need.

“We know that healthy women make healthy moms, and healthy moms make healthy babies,” said Capps. “Too many communities lack the skilled maternity care professionals who provide these services.

"Our bill would address this by harnessing the power of the National Health Service Corps to better target maternity care to the communities that need them most. We must not leave any community behind, especially when it comes to the health of mothers and babies.”

Said Burgess: “This legislation takes an important step to ensure more effective and efficient placement of maternity care providers in regions where they are needed the most through existing government programs.

"Consistent, high-quality maternity care is of the utmost importance for both a mother and baby to ensure a safe, healthy pregnancy. I appreciate that the House of Representatives shares my belief that no patients should ever have to compromise access to quality maternity care based on their location in the country.”

— Nicole Silverman for Rep. Lois Capps.

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