AAPPN’s legislative and advocacy efforts top the list of what our members value about the organization.
This work is exciting and meaningful. I am so glad to be working with such an amazing team.
We have a small—but dedicated—Legislative Committee, that is preparing for the 2022 legislative session. Each year, dozens of bills are introduced that impact our patients and clients, our profession, and our community. The Legislative Committee works tirelessly with our lobbyist, Devon Connor-Green, to evaluate these bills and determine AAPPN’s position.
I’d like to give a shout out to the committee members who, like me, are returning in 2022: Nikki Behner, Piper Buersmeyer, Meghann Miller, Patricia Morgan, and Anne Marie Patterson! I’d also like to thank outgoing chair Danielle DeOliveira, who led the group the past two years.
AAPPN’s advocacy work isn’t limited to the legislative session or our Legislative Committee.
AAPPN members advocate all year round!
Members, like Chero Chuma, met with their legislators in-district during the summer. Last month, Mary Anne Murray joined with representatives from ARNPs United to discuss the challenges of rural health care and SB 5222, which would require health carriers to reimburse advanced registered nurse practitioners at the same rate as physicians for the same services.
In addition to ARNPs United, AAPPN collaborates with other NP professional associations. A big thank you to Merry Armstrong, Deb Eti, and Randi O’Brien,who joined me in representing AAPPN at an event with legislators in Spokane! I had the pleasure of flying to Spokane in October to attend an event organized by WANA, the state organization for Nurse Anesthetists. WANA graciously invited other ARNP groups to share the audience of local Senators and House Representatives. We were able to have a direct audience with these legislators to discuss the challenges we see in our practices and promote the need for equal payment for our work.
In November, I was invited to speak to the Washington Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee regarding workforce challenges. Thank you to the many PMHNPs in this group who have given their time to discuss their workplace challenges with me. Burnout is real and not helped by the many administrative challenges we face from a strained mental health system, regulatory agencies, and insurance companies.
It is clear from these discussions that we still have a great deal of work to do in promoting our place in a multidisciplinary behavioral health workforce.
We need to keep our voices heard in order to be included.
The 2022 legislative session starts in January. I’m happy to report that we are getting traction for passing SB 5222. This bill, which was originally spearheaded by ARNPs United, has taken many years to get to this point. As part of AAPPN’s collaboration on this important issue, AAPPN members voiced their support during the 2021 legislative session. In addition, I have been meeting with legislators, as well as volunteering on a working group to help develop a public awareness campaign. We continue to welcome financial contributions to help offset the cost of the public awareness campaign.
There is definitely strength in numbers, and we need you to join in the effort!
You can get involved by participating in AAPPN’s virtual Lobby Week, January 17-21, 2022. I also encourage you to attend ARNPs United Lobby Day on January 20. Watch your inbox for more information for both activities!
More than anything, we would love your volunteer time. We aren’t looking for anything more than what you have to give, and I can promise you your time will be goal-directed and efficiently used. Explore AAPPN’s volunteer opportunities or contact Kirk and Chris at our office to see how you can get involved.
Thank you for the work you do supporting the mental health needs of our communities during a pandemic. And as always, thank you for being a member of AAPPN.
Kristine Highlander, MSN, ARNP, PMHNP-BC
2021 AAPPN President and member of the AAPPN Legislative Committee