Nurse Licensure Compact One Step Closer to Full Ratification

Good news for nurses seeking to practice telehealth across state lines: Following recent votes by state legislators in Delaware, Maine, and Texas, the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) is one step closer to activation. As mHealth Intelligence first reported, lawmakers in 25 states across the country have now approved the interstate compact, which allows for the portability of nursing licenses among member states. Said Maine State Board of Nursing President Valerie Fuller in a press release following the compact’s approval in the state’s legislature, “Adoption of the eNLC ensures that our licensees have mobility across state borders using their multistate licenses as well as improving access to care and maintaining public protection.”

First adopted in 1997 and updated in 2014, and overseen by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the compact stipulates that it will take full effect when 26 states (a majority) have ratified it, or on December 31, 2018—whichever comes first. The compact has earned the support of organizations like the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), which has praised its potential to facilitate the practice of telehealth across state lines. In 2015, ATA CEO Jonathan Linkous argued that the compact’s ratification “will empower nurses to participate in and benefit from a variety of innovative service delivery models featuring a multidisciplinary team approach to provide and coordinate a patient’s care.” Added Linkous, “Patients will reap the ultimate rewards of these efforts.” (CTeL, too, has endorsed the eNLC.)

In related news, progress has also been made with the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which allows physicians to practice in multiple states. Per the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), which oversees the compact, 22 states thus far have officially joined, with Maine being the latest; an additional three states, along with the District of Columbia and Guam, are currently considering legislation to do the same. “We are pleased that Maine has joined 21 other states who are dedicated to increasing access to health care by expediting licensure for willing and qualified physicians,” FSMB President Dr. Humayun Chaudhry said in a statement after the state’s legislature approved the compact at the end of June. And as mHealth Intelligence noted, 13 states have so far given their stamp of approval to the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact; three states have also officially joined the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PsyPACT), with legislators in an additional six states are considering membership. As with the eNLC and the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, these agreements also allow for license portability across state lines.

Click here to read the article from mHealth Intelligence on the progress of the eNLC.

Click here to read the press release from NCSBN on the latest state to adopt the eNLC.

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