Akron, OH (PRWEB) December 13, 2013
More than 70 Maryland-based nursing, medical and science professionals today released a letter calling on Congress to lift the ban on federal funding for Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). The letter is signed by a number of doctors, nurses, and professors from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, the Maryland Chapter of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC), and other prestigious institutions.
The letter urges Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski to use her position as Senate Appropriations Chair to lift the ban, noting that “there are few occasions when members of the medical community can unite and advocate for a public health program that costs nothing, saves taxpayer dollars, and saves lives. This is one of those occasions.”
The health care professionals note that the ban has been in place since 2011 and “has been detrimental to the health of Americans and the fight against HIV/AIDS ever since, especially those in your home state of Maryland. Lifting the ban would not involve the appropriation of a single additional federal dollar; the change would simply allow local and state medical authorities to spend federal dollars they are given as they see fit.“
The federal ban takes the form of language inserted into Appropriations legislation, and many advocating for lifting the ban have spoken of the importance of Senator Mikulski’s role. “Having Senator Mikulski as Appropriations Chair is a real boost for those of us who want to lift the senseless syringe funding ban, “ says Paul Sacamano, ANAC Chesapeake Maryland Chapter President, a nurse and a Maryland resident. “We know that the Senator is a champion of positive public health policies and supports lifting the ban. As nurses, we know that this is sound public health policy and could make a difference in the life and health outcomes of our patents and their families. We want to make sure that Senator Mikulski recognizes that this issue is a priority for her constituents and that nurses in Maryland support her efforts to remove this deeply damaging regulation.”
The catalyst for the letter is the news that Congress reached a deal on a budget number for FY14. Such a deal would mean that Appropriations staffers will draft an omnibus bill to fund the government, and within this drafting process there is an opportunity to have the ban language removed.
Read the full letter here.