ONS Hill Days Update

Posted on 08. Oct, 2017 by in Legislative and Health Policy

Our PSONS Member Jackie Mensing had an opportunity to go to ONS Hill Days. Read below to hear her update about it!

Hill Days is an ONS conference that brings together Oncology nurses from all over the country to learn about the importance of advocacy and the political process.  When asked, most nurses will say they don’t like politics and don’t want to get involved in the mess in Washington. Unfortunately, the laws made in Washington have a direct effect on oncology patients every day. During Hill Days, we learned to lobby our representatives and discuss issues that are important to our patients.

– We met on Tuesday night for a meet and greet and to help launch the ONS Center for Advocacy & Health Policy. Susan Schneider, the president of ONS, gave a speech on importance of oncology nurses getting involved in public policy. It was great to network with nurses from all over the country, to find that most of the issues that we have in the PNW are common to the entire country.

– On Wednesday, we had an all-day conference with many speakers. We discussed the importance of advocacy, had an update from the NINR, ONS policy agenda and asks, and how to lobby for a cause with our member of congress. It was a long day where we learned about how Washington works. We ended the day with another meet and greet where five different congressmen came and discussed their commitment to cancer issues. Congressman Derek Kilmer from the 6th congressional district in Washington talked about his wife and her treatment for breast cancer.

– On Thursday, we all met with Senators and representatives from our respective states. I met with a staff member from Senator Patty Murray and Senator Maria Cantwells office. I also met with my Representative Adam Smith, from the 9th district in Washington. Per ONS request we discussed the following laws and policies.

  1. Cancer Drug Parity Act of 2017, H.R. 1409-Under current law, most IV drugs are covered under the medical benefit component of health insurance plan, while oral cancer medications are covered under prescription drug component. This law would remove this disparity. Washington state already has this law on the books, but we were advocating for a national law.
  2. NINR and Nursing Workforce Development Program Funding. We ask that the NIH and specifically the NINR and Title VIII programs be funded at current levels.
  3. Palliative Care and Hospice Education & Training Act (PCHETA), H.R. 1676/693- the bill would establish 24 Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers to improve the training of nurses, physicians and health professionals in palliative care and hospice.

The conference was a great introduction into the importance of advocacy and how Washington works. I have attached copies of the three ONS “asks” that we advocated for with our representatives. I have also attached an email I received today on the impact of ONS Hill Days.

Thanks for the opportunity!

If you’re interested in our Legislative and Health Policy Committee please click here for more info, or e-mail psonshealthadvocacy@gmail.com.

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