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OH to Expand Interstate Health-Care Access through Nurse Compact

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Thursday, August 12, 2021   

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio has made it easier for residents to get quality health care from Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses.

Senate Bill 3, signed by Gov. Mike DeWine last month, allows Ohio to enter the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), a multistate agreement which allows nurses to practice in other NLC states by streamlining licensing requirements.

Sen. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, who introduced the bill, said it is a chance for native Ohioans living in other states in the compact to care for some of their own.

"From an economic and jobs standpoint, nurses can take their skills and work across state lines," Roegner explained. "It increases economic mobility for them, but it also helps increase patient access to care. You're a patient across state lines, this certainly facilitates telehealth and serving those patients."

As of 2020, Ohio had 150 Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas, according to data from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Gov. DeWine also signed legislation that allows the state to join similar programs for physicians, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and occupational and physical therapists.

Currently, more than two million nurses live in states that are members of the compact. As seen by the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on hospitals, Roegner argued it is crucial to have the ability to mobilize nearby nurses as quickly as possible.

"Particularly now that we're all so aware of the effects of natural disasters and pandemics, you need to be able to move these health-care workers quickly as hot spots arise," DeWine contended. "And we don't want this to be encumbered by occupational licensure, which would slow things down."

Ohio officially joins the Nurse Licensure Compact in a little more than a year, Jan. 1, 2023. The Ohio Board of Nursing, which certifies nurses, needs time to adapt its procedures to join the compact.


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