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Testimony Health Policy Commission - June 3
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June 3, 2015

Honorable James T. Welch, Senate Chair

Honorable Jeffrey Sanchez, House Chair

Joint Committee on Health Care Financing

State House

Boston, Massachusetts 02133


Re:       Senate Bill No. 572/ House Bill No. 2771, An act relative to the governance of the            Health Policy Commission

Dear Chairmen Welch and Sanchez:

On behalf of the members of the American Nurses Association Massachusetts, I am pleased to convey to you and your committee our strong support for passage of Senate Bill No. 572 and House Bill No. 2771.  . ANA Massachusetts is the constituent organization of the American Nurses Association (since 1908). ANA Massachusetts is the largest organization representing professional nurses from the bedside to the board room. On behalf of our nurse members I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to testify in favor of H. 2771/S.572: An act relative to the governance of the Health Policy Commission.  This is the first legislation ever sponsored by ANA Massachusetts. We are asking that “a registered nurse licensed to practice in Massachusetts working in a clinical setting” be appointed to the Health Policy Commission for a term of 5 years.  


The Health Policy Commission is charged with making important decisions about the course of health care delivery in Massachusetts and has been dealing with critical issues that affect the practice of nursing, like mandatory overtime legislation, mental health/substance misuse management, and most recently ICU staffing regulations. Because there is not a nurse on the Health Policy Commission, representatives of the Health Policy Commission have had to reach out to ANA Massachusetts for clarification and advice on many issues requiring the expertise of a nurse.  We happily provided that advice. 


With 3.1 million Registered Nurses in the United States, (122,000 in Massachusetts-most of us are engaged voters) nurses are the largest segment of healthcare professionals. The legislator has recognized the need to have the voice of a clinician available in order to control healthcare costs, by ensuring a physician is member of the commission. But the Commission needs a Nurse! Nurses bring a distinct and unique perspective to the healthcare discussion. The appointment of a Registered Nurse will recognize the important role nursing plays in caring for our most vulnerable citizens...a nurse on the Health Policy Commission will assure that the voice of the nursing profession will be heard when making important decisions about the delivery of health care.  


In addition, the Institute of Medicine recognizes the important perspective that nursing offers in their report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health”. One of the key recommendations in the Institute of Medicine report, is to “prepare and enable nurses to lead change to advance health”. This IOM report goes on to say, “Nurses, nursing education programs, and nursing associations should prepare the nursing workforce to assume leadership positions across all levels, while public, private and governmental healthcare decision makers should ensure that leadership positions are available to and filled by nurses.”


It is the nurse who has the clinical knowledge base and the most regular direct access to patient/families and support systems in a variety of settings.  This allows the nurse to observe nuances in patient behavior and the interpersonal relations that affect a patient’s health status.  The nurse develops a comprehensive patient care plan, provides effective interventions, patient/family education and organizes appropriate referrals.  This puts the nurse in a position to make suggestions and solve problems leading to improvements in both cost and quality of health care.


Finally, for the last 5 years, nurses have been voted as the most trusted professionals in Gallop polls. A nurse will offer a unique perspective and would be an invaluable asset to the Health Policy Commission. 


A registered nurse on the Health Policy Commission would be an invaluable asset to its work.


We respectfully urge you to recommend passage of this legislation.


Thank you for your consideration of our views.




Myra F. Cacace



American Nurses Association

PO Box 285  ~  Milton, MA 02186  ~  617-990-2856

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