Nursing education and research funding remains stagnant in President’s 2015 budget proposal
Flatlined funding for nursing education and research will make it increasingly difficult to train enough nurses to meet demand, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
“AACN member schools are concerned that level funding for the Title VIII programs, which have been a mainstay in their ability to endure the current fiscal climate, will create even more hardship as they struggle to increase student capacity, develop the pool of qualified faculty, and weather spending cuts and the state and local levels,” says AACN President Jane Kirschling.
Nursing Workforce Development programs (Title VIII, Public Health Service Act) will maintain exactly the same amount of funding in 2015 as in 2014—$223.841 million. The President has also requested that $62 million of that funding total come from the Public Health Service Evaluation. The Title VIII programs had been given a raise of 3% in 2014 and 5% in 2013. Funding for the programs has more than doubled over the last decade, increasing from $141.92 million in 2014 to the current funding level.
The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) is looking at less than a 1% cut in funding for 2015 as 2014—compared to a roughly 3% increase in 2013, and a 6% cut in 2012. The NINR has seen its funding increase by about 4.3% over the last 10 years.
Recognizing the many “difficult choices” that must be made in federal budgeting, AACN says the President’s Administration has made positive investments toward improving team-based and community-based care programs. It also applauds President Barack Obama’s proposal to spend $5.4 million over the next decade to include nurse practitioners and physician assistants in reimbursement to states for primary care services.
However, nursing schools across the country had to turn away almost 80,000 candidates to various programs because of faculty shortages, and AACN says stagnant funding isn’t helping schools address these barriers to increasing student capacity.
The overall budget for the Department of Health and Human Services, under which the nursing research and education funding falls, includes $77.1 billion for healthcare and medical research programs. The overall funding level is almost $1 billion below the 2014 total. The budget funds a number of program focused on healthcare reforms, increasing access to care and increasing the number of community-based and primary care healthcare providers.