Sinema-Backed Bill Increases Number of Nurses for Arizona Communities

Nov 1, 2019

Senator aims to fix Arizona’s nursing shortage by supporting nurses who work in communities with a lack of health professionals

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the bipartisan Nursing Where It’s Needed Act, which increases the amount of Nurse Corps nurses in Arizona health care facilities in an effort to close Arizona’s health care provider shortage.

“We are bringing more nurses to Arizona to help end our health care provider shortage, lower health care costs, and protect access to health care for all Arizonans,” said Sinema.

In 2002, Congress created the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, which pays off up to 60% of a nurse’s student loans if they work in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSAs) for two years. In 2007, Congress limited eligibility from all care facilities to only public or non-profit health care facilities. The Act allows Arizona communities to benefit from the Nurse Corps Program in the way it was intended. All 15 of Arizona’s counties include HPSAs and yet only 27 facilities currently participate in the Nurse Corps program. Many rural Arizona communities are served exclusively by for profit entities and are currently unable to participate in the program. The Act will allow more Arizona communities, especially in rural areas, to benefit the Nurse Corps program.

Sinema recently cosponsored the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act—legislation that helps seniors in rural Arizona access the in-home health care services they’ve earned through Medicare by allowing nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and similarly qualified medical providers to prescribe home health care under Medicare.