Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote H.R. 728, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Dave Joyce (R-OH). The legislation reauthorizes federal funding for the nursing workforce, including the certified nurse-midwifery workforce, and education programs under Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act for a period of five years. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Nursing Workforce Development Programs address all aspects of nursing workforce demand, including education, practice, recruitment, and retention and are essential to ensuring the demand for care is met, especially in rural and underserved areas. The workforce programs under Title VIII have been operating without authorization for several years, putting them at risk for being un-funded should Congress decide that funds are better served elsewhere. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.
ACNM has been an active supporter of reauthorizing the existing Title VIII programs through our work with the Nursing Community Coalition. Furthermore, ACNM is advocating for passage of the Midwives for Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services Act, H.R. 3849, legislation to expand the existing Title VIII and Title VII programs by establishing two new programs that would provide direct funding for accredited midwifery education programs. This legislation would provide critical funding to help grow the nation’s midwifery workforce to meet the urgent needs of the childbearing population. We encourage members to contact their legislators and urge them to cosponsor this important legislation!