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Emergency Authorization to Allow Nurses to Work across State Lines

Friday, March 20, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Susan Stout
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Emergency authorization may allow nurses to work across state lines

As part of the federal response to COVID-19, Vice President Mike Pence announced this week the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will take steps to allow nurses and other medical personnel to practice outside the states where they are licensed. Following the federal declaration of a national emergency on March 13, HHS finalized a waiver under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act to ensure states have the materials and services they need to meet the needs of Medicare and Medicare enrollees. The waiver includes relaxing the requirement for health care professionals to hold licenses in the states in which they provide services. How that waiver applies varies from state to state. Updates to guidance will be made on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. Earlier in the week, six states made plans to issue temporary licenses to nurses and others to ensure hospitals would have sufficient personnel to deal with an expected surge in patients needing care. In the 34 states that belong to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), nurses are able to practice in any Compact state without acquiring individual state licenses. Earlier this month, Michigan’s House passed a bill (H.B. 4042) to allow the state to join the NLC. (National Review story, 3/18/20)