April 4, 2019

Young and Jones Introduce Bipartisan Nursing Where It’s Needed Act

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) introduced the Nursing Where It’s Needed (Nursing WIN) Act, bipartisan legislation that would address the high demand for qualified nurses in underserved areas. Specifically, the bill would allow nurses at health care facilities with critical nursing shortages to benefit from the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program, regardless of the facility’s tax status. 

“In the coming years, our nation will face a critical nursing shortage as baby boomers age into retirement and require more healthcare services. Shortages are already being felt in our underserved rural and urban areas who are in dire need of caregivers,” said Senator Young. “We must address this lack of qualified professionals now by incentivizing nurses to practice in the communities where they are needed most.”

“Like many places around the country, Alabama is facing a nursing shortage in rural areas of the state – and experts project this shortage will only get worse in the coming years,” said Senator Jones. “This legislation can make a difference by improving the incentives for nurses to work in the rural and underserved areas that need them most.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 1.1 million additional nurses will be needed in order to avoid further shortages. This issue is further compounded in underserved areas where it’s harder to attract talent to meet the populations’ needs.

In order to incentivize nursing students to provide care and treatment in some of the most underserved communities, Congress created a loan repayment program for nursing professionals, currently known as the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program. The program pays for 60 percent of a registered nurse or advanced practice registered nurse’s unpaid nursing education debt in exchange for two years of service in a critical shortage facility, which includes hospitals, clinics, and other facilities experiencing a critical shortage of nurses.

Initial participation in the program was limited to public or non-profit facilities, but in 2002, participation was expanded to also include all types of facilities. However, in 2007, the program reverted back to only public and non-profit facilities. This legislation once again expands eligibility in the program to any critical shortage facility, regardless of tax status to encourage participation in healthcare facilities throughout the country that are in dire need of nurses.

The Nursing WIN Act is supported by the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals.

Click here to learn more about the bill.