Press Release

Gillibrand Continues Efforts To Address Nursing Shortage

Oct 1, 2009

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing new legislation this week
to address the nursing shortage in New York and across the country.
According to a Gillibrand report in May, New York State will need
nearly 106,000 additional nurses by 2020. Senator Gillibrand joined the
Medicare Graduate Nurses Education Act, which would help expand
the nurse workforce and vocational nursing faculty by making Medicare
reimbursement funds available to teaching hospitals.

we work to fix health care, we must also address our nursing shortage,”
Senator Gillibrand said. “This legislation would provide training
hospitals with the tools and resources needed to ensure our nursing
workforce can meet the health care challenges of the twenty first
century. Nursing institutions across the country lack the funding,
facilities, faculty and space needed to train the next generations of
nurses. It is critical that we continue to attract new nurses to
provide quality care to our families.”

The Medicare Graduate Nurses Education Act would allow hospitals with graduate nursing education programs to
receive Medicare funding. These programs would facilitate registered
nurses to take graduate level courses toward becoming clinical nurse
specialists, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse
anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives.  These categories fill
primary care workforce shortages in underserved communities.  The
legislation would provide on-the-job training for nurses in both
hospital and community-based practice- or clinic settings. 

In May, Senator Gillibrand released a plan to address the nursing shortage, including:

1.  Increasing Nursing Faculty.  Nursing faculty salary can be as much as 15 percent less than practicing nurses.  The Nurses’ Higher Education Loan Repayment (HEAL) Act would establish parity between nursing faculty and their students by
offering full repayment on graduate degree loan debt assumed by nursing

2.  Increasing Spots at Nursing Schools.  The Nurse Education, Expansion and Development Act would provide grants to nursing schools to increase the numbers of faculty.

3. Incentivizing Nurse Practitioners in Underserved Areas
Earlier this year, Senator Gillibrand helped pass President Obama’s
Economic Recovery plan, which included $300 million to the National
Health Service Corps to recruit nurses to work in underserved areas.

4.  Investing in Long Term Development of the Nursing Workforce
After flat funding in the previous Administration, Senator Gillibrand
is working to secure additional funding for Nursing Workforce
Development (Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act). 

Senator Gillibrand’s complete plan can be viewed here.