A press release from State Senator Pam Althoff:
Senator Pam Althoff and Representative Sandra Pihos Unveil Plan for Nurse Licensure Compact
SPRINGFIELD…..Surrounded by nurses and health care supporters, Senator Pam Althoff (R-Crystal Lake) and Representative Sandra Pihos (R-Glen Ellyn) unveiled a proposal Wednesday, May 4 that would make Illinois the 25th state in the nation to become part of the Nurse Licensure Compact.
The initiative is aimed at increasing access to patient care across state lines by streamlining multi-state licensure requirements.
Currently nurses in all fifty states already have to pass the same certifying exam (NCLEX) for state licensure.
Once legislation is passed in a state to adopt the Nurse Licensure Compact, a nurse from that state can treat patients in other Compact states either electronically or in person without having to apply for separate state licensure.
The nurse, however, must abide by the nurse practice act of the state in which the patient being treating is located.
However, once a nurse takes up permanent residency in a state they have to obtain licensure in their new home state within 30 days, similar to a driver’s license. Licensure and disciplinary information on nurses is shared among the Compact states and the public through a comprehensive data base called NURSYS.
“This legislation will be a tremendous step forward in improving Illinoisans’ access to quality healthcare through the enhanced use of electronic health services” said Althoff.
“By rolling back many unnecessary nurse licensing barriers that currently restrict effective telehealth and e-care, Illinois can join 24 other states in bringing its healthcare system into the 21st century and providing nurses with greater flexibility in treating patients remotely.”
“This licensure compact would break down the regulatory barriers that have traditionally impeded care,” said Pihos. “It would allow nurses expedient and efficient authorization to practice in participating jurisdictions granting them greater mobility and improving the welfare of the general public.”
The Nurse Licensure Compact model was developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in response to the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, which called for a development of a new infrastructure to keep pace with the increasing practice of healthcare by electronic means. Since 2000 the following states adopted the Compact: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Besides Illinois, legislation is pending in Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York.
“Congresswoman Giffords’ treatment in facilities in both Arizona and Texas, which are both Compact states, is a perfect example of how the care of patients should not have to be interrupted because of their geographic location. In this modern age of technology, Illinois needs to catch up with the rest of the nation and adopt the Nurse Licensure Compact, as the majority of our surrounding states have,” said State Senator Emil Jones, Jr. (D-Chicago) co-sponsor of the initiative.
“Some case management nurses have a caseload of 70 or more patients and it is logistically impossible for that nurse to get a separate license in each state where the patient resides. The time and cost of those efforts is prohibitive,” added Sue Baxter-Pflederer RN, CCM who owns Medical Management Innovations, Inc. which deals with workers’ compensation cases in Illinois and throughout the country.
“With Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin all being Compact states, our blood center could run much more efficiently for nurses collecting blood in our multi-state region, if Illinois would also adopt the Compact,” explained Louis Katz, M.D., Executive Vice-President of Medical Affairs for the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center.
The need for the Compact was recently mentioned in President Obama’s Report on Strengthening Military Families as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Report to Congress on Medical Licensure Portability.
In 2010, Governor Quinn signed legislation (PA-96-931) into law which passed the General Assembly unanimously to allow licensed out of state medical professionals to provide care at free clinics without having to obtain additional licensure in Illinois. “As long as the health care worker is licensed and in good standing in another state, we welcome them to Illinois, to help working families in need of health care,” said Quinn at the time.