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North Carolina Emergency Nurses Association

ENA Washington Update

Posted 2 months ago by Karen Drum

October 15, 2018   ENA Government Relations

Congress, President Enact ENA-Supported Bills, Funding Priorities

The House and Senate have recessed until after the midterm elections, but that did not stop them from advancing to the president several ENA legislative priorities before they left Washington.

Funding for ENA-Supported Programs

In September, bipartisan leaders were able to pass fiscal year 2019 funding in the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (Labor HHS). The act includes $39.08 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a $5 million increase for the National Institute of Nursing Research, as well as a $2 million increase for the nation's poison control centers. The bill also fully funded nursing education and training programs, including the Advance Nursing Education program, which helps prepare registered nurses to become nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, nurse administrators and other specialties requiring advanced education. All three programs are ENA priorities.

Importantly, Congress also restored funding to the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program at HHS. Marked for elimination by the president's budget two years running, the program will be fully funded for 2019 at $22.3 million.

Opioids Legislation

On October 3, the Congress sent to the president sweeping opioid legislation that combines dozens of smaller proposals sponsored by dozens of bipartisan lawmakers. A major aspect of the bill is the change to a decades-old rule that prohibited Medicaid from covering patients with substance abuse disorders who received treatment in a mental health facility with more than 16 beds. The bill lifts that rule to allow for 30 days of residential treatment coverage. The provision will help alleviate the problem of emergency departments having to board patients with substance abuse disorders.

Emergency Care Kits on Airplanes

Congress also acted on another ENA priority when it included provisions of the Airplane Kids in Transit Safety (KITS) Act in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill. The bill was signed into law by the president on Oct. 5. The act requires the FAA to update emergency medical kits on airplanes to ensure they contain appropriate medication and equipment to meet the emergency care needs of children, including an epinephrine auto-injector.

California Gov.'s Veto Preserves ENA Spot on State Commission, For Now

On September 30, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) vetoed A.B. 3115, the Community Paramedicine or Triage to Alternate Destination Act, a sweeping bill whose primary intent was to make permanent a popular community paramedicine program operating in the state.

Although the bill had bipartisan support and was able to pass both the General Assembly as well as the Senate with relative ease, some health care groups, like CalENA, opposed the bill based on other provisions unrelated to the community paramedicine program. One of those provisions would have altered how members of the California Commission on Emergency Medical Services are picked, lessening the role of ENA in nominating individuals for this important commission. Since 1981, ENA has, by law, provided the names of RNs for the governor to appoint to the commission. A.B. 3115 would have forced ENA to share this nominating authority with groups that do not focus on emergency care or emergency medical services. CalENA had communicated their concerns with the bill's sponsors and had written Governor Brown urging a veto on the legislation.

House Advances Disaster Preparedness Bill, MISSION ZERO Attached

On September 25, the House of Representatives approved bipartisan legislation - the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act - to reauthorize critical disaster preparedness programs, including programs to improve the response to natural and man-made disasters, stockpiling critical drugs and supplies and improving readiness to deal with pediatric emergencies. As a partner in the National Pediatric Readiness Project, ENA is an active supporter of PAHPA and its programs.

Also included in the House-passed version of the bill was the MISSION ZERO Act, a bill that would create a new grant program that would foster cooperation between military trauma providers and eligible civilian trauma centers by embedding military trauma teams and individual trauma teams into civilian trauma centers. The bill would promote the transfer of advanced battlefield trauma techniques to the civilian sector while fostering continued readiness of military care providers.

The MISSION ZERO Act, introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) in the House and Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) in the Senate, was a priority request during ENA's Day on the Hill in 2018. ENA has consistently supported its inclusion in the PAHPA legislation. PAHPA is awaiting a vote in the Senate.

Federal Advocacy Update: ENA Priority Legislation

Here you will find monthly updates on the status of bills that are of priority concern or focus for ENA. We will utilize this section to provide basic information such as new cosponsors that have signed on in the last month or updates on the status of the bill's movement through Congress. When bills are first added, existing cosponsors will be listed. Following, you will see only new cosponsors listed monthly. You may review the legislation and a complete list of cosponsors by clicking the link provided.


Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act

House (H.R. 5223)

Sponsor:    Rep. Khanna, Ro [D-CA]

No new cosponsors since August 10, 2018

Status:                      This bill currently awaits action in the House Energy & Commerce, Education & Workforce, and Ways & Means Committees



House (H.R. 880)

Sponsor: Rep. Burgess, Michael [R-TX]

Status:                      This bill was passed in the House of Representatives on February 26, 2018 by voice vote. 

This bill was also passed in the House of Representatives as part of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act on September 25, 2018 by voice vote.

Senate (S. 1022)

Sponsor:     Sen. Isakson, Johnny [R-GA]

No new cosponsors since June 6, 2018

Status:                        A modified version of MISSION ZERO was approved by the HELP Committee as part of reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act reauthorization bill on May 23, 2018.


Stop, Observe, Ask, Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act

House (H.R. 767)

Sponsor: Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN]

No new cosponsors since September 13, 2017

Status:                       This bill was passed in the House of Representatives on February 26, 2018 by voice vote

Senate (S. 256)

Sponsor:     Sen. Heitkamp, Heidi [D-ND]

No new cosponsors since June 12, 2018

Status:                        This bill awaits action by the Senate HELP Committee


Air Ambulance Quality and Accountability Act

House (H.R. 3780)

Sponsor:        Rep. Hudson, Richard [R-NC]

No new cosponsors since September 12, 2018

Status:                        This bill currently awaits action by the House Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means Committees

Senate:                       Please note there is currently no Senate companion for H.R. 3780


Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act

House (H.R. 1876)

Sponsor: Rep. Blackburn, Marsha [R-TN]

No new cosponsors since August 24, 2018

Status:                        Passed by House Energy & Commerce Committee on February 14, 2018


Senate (S. 781)

Sponsor: Sen. Cassidy, Bill [R-LA]

No new cosponsors since July 25, 2018

Status:                        This bill currently awaits action by the Senate HELP Committee