The Louisiana legislature has made it easier for out-of-state nursing and physical therapy medical licenses to be transferrable into the state.
Sen. Barrow Peacock (R-Bossier City) spearheaded the Nurse Licensure Compact and Physical Therapy Licensure Compact, both of which emphasize the need for uniformity among states regarding medical licensure requirements. Through the NLC, Louisiana now joins 29 additional compact nursing states.
“When someone moves to Louisiana or to another state from Louisiana, they don’t have to do their licensure all over again,” Peacock said. “With the database and background check they’ve already done, their license is much more portable when moving from state to state.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the two bills (Nurse Licensure Compact and Physical Therapy Licensure Compact) into law June 1. His signature does not give up the state’s sovereign immunity, though.
“These bills have nothing to do with scope of practice for our physical therapists or nurses,” Peacock said. “It simply gives portability to their license from state to state.”
A benefit of the new legislation is especially beneficial to nurses and physical therapists who are military dependents, as it permits them to secure employment rapidly after moving to duty stations in Louisiana.
“This is extremely important with our military spouses not only here at Barksdale Air Force Base, but at Fort Polk and Belle Chasse,” Peacock said. “It’s not limited to just the military, though. This will benefit all Louisiana citizens.”
Shellie Neuman, a registered nurse and Air Force spouse, testified before the Louisiana State Senate to advocate for these licensure compacts after she experienced firsthand the cumbersome bureaucratic process to continue pursuing her passion, according to a news article from Barksdale Air Force Base.
“More spouses are going to start working because they won’t have the costs associated with transferring their license to a new state which can be very expensive,” Neuman said. “Plus they can start working right away, there’s no waiting period.”
It will also bring in more out-of-state nurses and physical therapists, broadening the scope of medical services available to the public.
“Say CHRISTUS or Willis-Knighton or even the VA needs to attract more nurses with certain specialties. If they live in East Texas, they could take a job in Louisiana now,” Peacock said.
A similar bill for EMTs did not pass out of committee. Peacock said it would’ve benefited EMTs and EMS individuals in the same way as the nurses and physical therapists.
“The unions were opposed to it,” he added.