Richmond, VA -- The Virginia Nurses Foundation (VNF) will honor Senators Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) and Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) with the 2018 Friend of Nursing Award at the VNF Gala on September 22 at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump. Senators Howell and Hanger each played a key role in the 2018 General Assembly’s passage of Medicaid expansion. As the chief Republican advocate for Medicaid expansion, Senator Hanger broke with his caucus leaders to support legislation that would help rural Virginians, including his constituents. Senator Howell tirelessly led her caucus in pushing for Medicaid expansion year after year. She was an outstanding advocate on this issue and ultimately helped deliver this policy win for hundreds of thousands of Virginians.
“The passage of Medicaid expansion means a healthier Virginia,” said Mary Kay Goldschmidt, VNA’s commissioner on government relations. “Thanks to the hard work and bipartisan spirit of Senators Howell and Hanger, more than 400,000 uninsured and low-income Virginians will have access to quality medical care.”
In addition to their leadership on Medicaid expansion, Senators Howell and Hanger were supporters of HB 793, which institutes a transition to practice period for nurse practitioners and went into effect on July 1, 2018. They also supported legislation improving workplace violence protections for nurses at hospitals and emergency care facilities, which was sponsored by 2017 Friends of Nursing Delegate Roxann Robinson and Senator Glen Sturtevant. As senior members of the Senate Finance Committee, Senators Howell and Hanger have also played an important role in legislation giving pay raises to state-employed nurses.
“Medicaid expansion is a positive step toward increasing access and improving the delivery of healthcare, which is a vital part of VNA’s mission,” said Janet Wall, VNA chief executive officer. “Senator Howell and Senator Hanger are champions for the health of all Virginians, and we are grateful for their leadership.”