By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director

NIH Gets $2 Billion in Additional Funding

In March 2017, President Trump issued what was called his “skinny budget.” The name refers to the short length of his proposed budget document, as well as the draconian cuts it brought to almost every federal agency. Under the proposed budget plan, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would lose nearly $1.2 billion in funding, most of which would come from research grants. Ultimately, Congress determines the amount of funding, and Trump’s proposal was met with stiff resistance on both sides of the aisle.

In two separate congressional hearings, audiences heard bipartisan support for continued investment in health and science research. On May 1, Congress elected to increase the NIH’s budget by $2 billion, which also provides the Biden Moonshot Initiative the funding it needs to continue cancer research. In the face of potential budget cuts, advocacy was powerful, but there’s always room for more work. Become an advocate, and let lawmakers know the importance of nurses to patient-centered care and generating new, scientific knowledge through cancer research.

Senators Await CBO Score on AHCA

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is responsible for investigating the new American Health Care Act (AHCA), reporting valuable information about its potential impact on Americans. The version of the AHCA that was passed in the House of Representatives doesn’t have a current score from the CBO. Members of the U.S. Senate are currently awaiting this report. However, the timeline of the CBO report is leaving many senators frustrated.

Without real numbers of cost, and the estimations of people who will be affected by the change, it will be difficult for committees to move forward with the bill. It is possible, because the bill has no deadline on the Senate schedule, that the upper chamber may wait for some time before moving forward with its own version of the healthcare bill. Until the CBO releases its report, work on the bill may come to a standstill for the time being.

AHRQ Director Touts Importance of Nursing

Richard Ricciardi, PhD, NP, FAAN, director of division of practice improvement and senior nursing advisor, at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) spoke at the U.S. Senate Nursing Caucus briefing “Transforming Health and Health Care: Nursing Workforce and Research” in celebration of National Nurses Week. His insight and support of nurses in the provision of care—particularly as a former service member and current advisor in the federal government—were uplifting.

Ricciardi educated congressional staffers on how nurses have real impact on patient care. He discussed the trials and tribulations of the nursing profession, including the dangers of burnout and compassion fatigue. He also reiterated the sense of accomplishment and success when evidence-based care provides patients with positive outcomes. Ricciardi expressed the highest level of professional respect for oncology nurses, recognizing that survivorship, quality of care, and palliative care work stems directly from this group. Ultimately, Ricciardi encouraged team-based care and providing AHRQ resources to help providers improve their practice.