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Healthcare Legislation: What Nurses Need to Know in 2018


Healthcare Legislation: What Nurses Need to Know in 2018

By Erin Wallace, contributor

Whether you're an RN, LPN or NP, it's important to stay up-to-date on current healthcare legislation because it can affect your job, protocols or how you administer patient care. Learn about some of the current pending healthcare legislation that Congress is considering and how it might affect your career.

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The Impact of Healthcare Legislation for 2018

The ACA remains mostly intact. According to Becker's Hospital Review, from a policy standpoint, nothing has materially changed much since the President's and Congress's attempts to scrap the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The one major component that has been altered is the termination of the individual mandate, which required individuals to have health insurance or incur a financial penalty on their taxes. However, this individual mandate is still in effect for 2018; the new law doesn't take effect until 2019.

HR 315: Improving Access to Maternity Care Act. This federal bill, introduced January 5, 2017 by Michael Burgess, a Representative for Texas's 26th Congressional District, essentially requires the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to “collect data to better place maternity health care professionals in existing primary health care professional shortage areas.”

This pending healthcare legislation affects nurses and other medical professionals who work on maternity wards. According to the bill's summary, maternity health care professionals can participate in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), but “they are not always placed where they are most needed.” If passed, the bill would help place maternity health care professionals in areas with the greatest needs for their services.

This pending healthcare legislation was passed January 9, 2017 by the House, and has moved onto the Senate next for consideration. Currently, the bill is still pending a Senate vote.

S. 292: Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research Act of 2018. This bill, first introduced in February 2017, was signed by President Trump on June 5, 2018. It “maximizes discovery and accelerates development and availability, of promising childhood cancer treatments, and for other purposes.” It provides “support to collect the medical specimens and information of children, adolescents and young adults with selected cancers that have the least effective treatments in order to achieve a better understanding of these cancers and the effects of treatment.”

This bill would potentially create a greater need for oncology nurses in hospitals across the country as research towards finding effective treatments for cancer continues.

Wherever you might end up in your next travel nursing assignment, it's a good idea to check with that particular state's legislature to inform yourself of any pending healthcare legislation that might affect your job and your ability to provide quality patient care.

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