Legislative Priority: National Licensure
The NATHO Clinical Executive Committee recognized the nursing shortage that has been prevalent for years became an even bigger issue as COVID-19 began to sweep over the country.
This inspired the committee to push harder for the idea of a national licensure model. If this is an idea you back, join us by downloading the Building a Culture of Safety: A National License Model white paper below.
Read it, share it, and advocate for the message.
Current Status: TREAT Act
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) along with Representative Bob Latta (OH-05) and Representative Debbie Bingell (MI-12) in the U.S. House of Representative, re-introduced legislation that allows any health care professional in good standing with a valid practitioners' license to render services - including telehealth - anywhere for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, health care professionals must maintain licenses in each state in which they render services. While most states have expanded licensing rules and reciprocity, their actions have been varied, inconsistent, and time limited, which has created licensing barriers to a comprehensive COVID-19 response. The Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act would provide temporary licensing reciprocity for all practitioners or professionals, including those who treat both physical and mental health conditions, in all states for all types of services (in-person and telehealth) during the COVID-19 response.
If you are interested in following the status of this act, the Association of Cancer Institutes has created a free Legislation Tracker.
How can you help?
Write your Legislators:
I am writing today on behalf of the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations, healthcare organizations across the nation and hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals to ask you to co-sponsor the Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act (S. 168/H.R. 708). This bipartisan legislation will allow any licensed health care provider in good standing to render services-including telehealth visits-in all states for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a commonsense solution to address the patchwork of state licensure laws that prevent or delay clinicians from providing virtual and in-person care to patients across state lines. At this crucial moment in the COVID-19 pandemic, this temporary flexibility is critical to patients that need care.
Specifically, the TREAT Act would:
-Enable health care professionals licensed in good standing to care for patients (whether in-person or through telehealth visits) from any state during the current national public health emergency without jeopardizing their state licensure or facing potential penalties for unauthorized practice of medicine
-Require health care professionals who use this authority to notify a state or local licensing board within 30 days of first practicing in a state other than where licensed or certified
-Preclude any service that is otherwise prohibited by a state where a patient is located and require adherence to specified prescribing requirements of the state
-Allow authority for a state where a health care professional has practiced under this reciprocity measure to pursue investigations and disciplinary actions, including the ability to exclude a clinician from practicing in the state under the Act
-Apply the licensure reciprocity for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, followed by a 180-day phase-out period
Telemedicine and ability for health professionals to practice across state lines has been a lifeline for many during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope you will consider co-sponsorship of this critical piece of public health legislation.
Thank you for your consideration.
If you have a personal example to share, please share that example with the lawmakers you contact. However, it is not necessary to have an example to share. You may simply use these talking points. Personal examples should include how the current lack of a national license has impacted you or your company in your ability to mobilize and provide healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic and/or in response to natural disasters.
Please express the following additional talking points with lawmakers.
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