IHA Daily Briefing: April 12

IL House Vote Not Taken on Nurse Staffing Ratios
Sign Up for IHA's State Advocacy Day April 30
IHA, Others Ask Congress to Pass GME Legislation
Congress Urged to Fund Children's GME Program

IL House Vote Not Taken on Nurse Staffing Ratios
The Illinois House this morning adjourned for its two-week spring break until April 30, without taking a vote on House Bill (HB) 2604, which would impose mandatory nurse staffing ratios in hospitals.

We greatly appreciate the outstanding engagement and advocacy of members in opposing mandatory nurse staffing ratios. Members sent more than 3,800 emails to legislators, filed more than 1,600 electronic witness slips and made numerous telephone calls to oppose HB 2604.

However, we do not believe this issue is over, and we must utilize the next two weeks to meet with lawmakers in their home districts.  Lawmakers need to hear from their hospitals and their nurses on this issue. That means we must keep up the pressure to oppose HB 2604--or any other legislative proposal that mandates nurse staffing ratios.

Members are urged to meet with your state Representative and Senator over the next two weeks. Tell them why mandatory nurse staffing ratios are harmful for patients, hospitals and healthcare and ask them to vote No or Present on House Bill 2604--or any other legislative proposal mandating nurse staffing ratios.  Even if you have called or emailed your Representative and Senator previously, it is critical that you meet with them during the break.

To look up your Representative and Senator and their local district office information, click here (fill in the zip code box under “Find Politicians/Look Up and Contact Your Officials” in the right hand column or near the bottom of the webpage).

Earlier this afternoon, IHA sent members an updated advocacy alert on this issue.

Sign Up for IHA’s State Advocacy Day April 30
With a General Assembly vote on mandated nurse staffing ratios looming and Medicaid managed care reform bills under consideration by legislators, all members are urged to attend IHA’s State Advocacy Day on April 30 in Springfield. Our collective voice is critical to the success of our advocacy efforts; legislators want to hear from hospital leaders.

Members are asked to please RSVP by April 19. Indicate on the RSVP form which state legislators you would like to meet with in the order of your preference. A briefing will be held prior to the day’s activities.

IHA, Others Ask Congress to Pass GME Legislation
In a letter sent this week to Congress, IHA joined 65 healthcare stakeholder organizations, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, in asking Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to increase the number of Medicare-supported physician residency positions, which were capped by the federal government in 1997. U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-13) is an original cosponsor of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (S. 348, H.R. 1763), which is cosponsored by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-9), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8) and Bobby Rush (D-1), all from Illinois.

“Physicians are a critical element of our healthcare infrastructure and workforce, and if we do not address this impending problem, patients from pediatrics to geriatrics, will find it difficult to access the care they need. While this is a serious issue for all of us, it is especially problematic because of our aging population and physician retirement. A person’s need for a physician increases with age, and the U.S. population aged 65 and older is predicted to grow 50% by 2030,” says the letter.

“This legislation would provide a responsible increase in Medicare support for graduate medical education (GME) to address the impending national physician workforce shortage. While we understand the many challenges Congress faces in the coming months, we stress the need to expand Medicare’s support for physician training to ensure all Americans have access to the care they deserve,” the letter continued.

More than 6,000 medical residents and fellows train in Illinois’ AMCs and teaching hospitals, making Illinois among the leading states in training tomorrow’s physician workforce. At the same time, the U.S. continues to face a critical shortage of physicians, especially in rural and medically-underserved areas, driven by the growing demand for healthcare as the population ages and more citizens have access to care.

Please ask your Representatives and Senators to cosponsor S. 348/H.R. 1763 (click here).

Congress Urged to Fund Children’s GME Program
In an April 8 letter, AHA, along with 27 other organizations, urged Congress to provide $400 million in funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program in 2020.  The letter states, “Since Congress created the CHGME program in 1999, children’s hospitals have been able to grow their training programs significantly, increasing the number of pediatric providers and addressing critical shortages in pediatric subspecialty care.  Today, half of all pediatric residents are trained at CHGME recipient hospitals.”

Nationally, 68 hospitals received program funding from 2000 - 2017, including two in Illinois.