Washington, D.C. — Senators Ted Budd (R-NC) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have introduced the Retain Educated Workers and Registered Nurses Developing (REWARD) Experience Act, which would empower the Military Health System to retain skilled nurses as they pursue higher education.
The legislation gives the hiring manager of a military medical center the ability to waive certain General Schedule (GS) qualification standards related to work experience for nurses at military medical treatment facilities if they deem the nurse or practical nurse fit to perform the required duties.
The legislative text of the bill is HERE.
Sen. Budd said in a statement:
“As our country faces a shortage of qualified nurses, this bipartisan proposal provides a common sense fix that would cut through bureaucratic requirements to help the military keep dedicated healthcare professionals on the job without taking a pay cut. I’d like to thank Senator Murray for co-leading this bill with me.”
Senator Murray said:
“Our new bipartisan legislation would provide a common-sense fix to incentivize skilled nurses to stay in the military health care system, where their services are so important to getting servicemembers and their families timely access to high-quality care. Staffing shortages are a challenge for health care facilities across the country, and we must keep working to find ways to retain qualified and experienced nurses in military health care facilities and ensure servicemembers and their families get the care they deserve—I’m proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get that done.”
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) President and CEO Lt Gen Brian Kelly, USAF (Ret) said:
“MOAA supports the REWARD Act that will help military hospitals and clinics retain experienced civilian nurses as they further their education and achieve higher levels of licensure. MOAA’s spring advocacy campaign last year raised concerns about health care workforce challenges, so we appreciate the REWARD Act will help DoD retain experienced nurses by addressing a barrier in hiring policy. We thank Senator Patty Murray and Senator Ted Budd for their leadership on military treatment facility staffing challenges and their support of military medicine.”
CEO of the National Military Family Association (NMFA) Besa Pinchotti said:
“Service members and military families need and deserve the very best health care. Nurses are an essential part of that equation. The REWARD Experience Act is commonsense legislation that incentivizes nurses to remain with the military health system as they progress in their careers. We are grateful to Senators Murray and Budd for their leadership on this issue.”