Emergencies and Medical Professional Licenses in Missouri

As COVID-19 runs through the United States, it is presenting a number of complicated issues for the government and the public. One of the biggest problems has been caused by a shortage of healthcare workers and essential professionals. Headlines are now coming out from states around the nation, explaining emergency laws being enacted in order to loosen the licensing guidelines for medical workers. For instance, traveling nurses will likely be able to start working in other states with fewer delays than they have ever seen in the past.*

Licensing procedures take time, but in an emergency such as the current one, there is not enough time to work through the normal channels. As a response, many states are loosening licensing laws to allow more professionals to be engaged in the battle against the virus.

State Reciprocity

One way that some states are working to fill the void of professional is by allowing medical professionals to work in states outside of where they are licensed. This means that nurse practitioners and nurses aids, among other workers, will be able to cross state lines to help in the hardest-hit locations. For instance, Washington, which was one of the first states to be struck by the virus, has activated emergency volunteer health practitioners and is allowing nurses from other states to volunteer without an in-state license. All these practitioners will require is proof of their own good standing in another state.

Nurse Practitioners Expanded Operations

Some states are making changes that will allow nurse practitioners to practice without a doctor present. Nurse practitioners who considered “advanced,” which means they have some graduate course experience and a minimum of 3,000 hours of experience working under a physician’s supervision, will be eligible to work under these looser guidelines.

Another approach to the crisis is the issuance of “emergency” licenses. These temporary and expedited licenses may apply even in states that are not a party to the eNLC. These states are trying to make it easier for these professionals to become active, at least for a limited time.

New York and Colorado are looking at ways to bring former healthcare workers back into the practice. In New York, the governor is asking these professionals to “reconnect” with their former employers to find ways in which they may participate in the response if current workers are too overwhelmed to handle the number of patients made sick by the virus. Similar please were made by the governor in Colorado.

As the virus begins to impact additional states, it is likely that more accommodations will be made to expedite licenses around the nation.

Missouri Response

Missouri legislators proposed a bill titled HB 2046, which would permit healthcare professionals who have out of state licenses to move to the state through a reciprocity program. The professionals would be required to have held a license for a minimum of one year, and be in good standing in order to qualify.

The national health crisis has highlighted the incredible importance of healthcare workers. States are now paving the way to get more professionals where they are needed.

Professional licensing practices can be complicated and challenging to navigate. Professionals also sometimes face challenges to their licenses that can put their careers and livelihoods in jeopardy.  If you are trying to navigate the process for obtaining or reinstating a professional license in Missouri, or if you are facing disciplinary action that threatens your license, the Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney at Sanger Law can guide you and protect your rights. Contact Sanger Law today at (785) 979-4353.