WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, President Trump released his FY 2018 America First - A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. The budget proposes wide sweeping and devastating cuts to programs that ensure health across the nation. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) strongly opposes these cuts and warns both the Administration and Congress that decreasing federal dollars by this magnitude will threaten the lives and livelihood of millions of Americans. The association believes that safeguarding the public is not solely a defense effort, it is also a public health one.
"To raise our concerns, AACN's membership will be on Capitol Hill on March 20, and we plan to share with Congress the vital importance of funding for research, workforce, and health programs," said Dr. Juliann Sebastian, AACN's Chair of the Board of Directors.
The budget proposal outlines a 20 percent reduction to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), slashing the funding by $5.8 billion dollars and folds the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality under NIH. Funding for biomedical and healthcare research has a priceless return on investment. Scientific discoveries improve health, help cure diseases, and translate to advancements in quality care. The financial impact of research is two-fold. First, the findings translate to direct cost savings to the healthcare system, patients, and the community. Secondly, research dollars spur local economies by creating jobs and opportunities for community engagement. Cuts this deep to the nation's epicenter for healthcare research is not only concerning, it is unprecedented.
Equally problematic, the budget proposes debilitating reductions to health professions and nursing workforce programs by $403 million dollars. This is counterintuitive to the Administration's goal of increasing access and reducing costs. Forecasts project that nurses will be called upon even more to coordinate care, provide preventive services, and manage chronic diseases, in addition to their current roles across the spectrum of care delivery. Supporting the growth of the nursing workforce for current and projected trends is a necessary investment to ensuring that the nurses educated today are ready for the challenges of tomorrow.
"Health care cannot be transformed without foundational support for the programs that hold the system up," said AACN's President and CEO, Dr. Deborah Trautman. "Congress will ultimately be responsible for passing a budget and we are committed to working with them to ensure that federal funding underscores sustainability and progress toward a healthier nation."
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 800 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. www.aacn.nche.edu