A series of bills pending in Lansing would allow health care professionals in Michigan to work across state lines without needing to be licensed in other states.
Separate bipartisan bills in the state Legislature would allow Michigan to enter into multistate licensing agreements for nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
Advocates argue that entering into multistate licensing agreements could increase patient access to care through telemedicine, especially in rural and underserved markets. fully serviced, while avoiding the need for healthcare professionals to go through lengthy licensing processes in each state where they wish to practice.
Legislation for Michigan to enter into a licensing agreement for physical therapists would improve patient access to physical therapy services in the state of Michigan by providing qualified licensees lawsuits in participating states provide an easier and faster alternative to traditional licensing while maintaining safeguards to protect the public, said State Rep. John. John Fitzgerald, a Republican from Wyoming, told the House Health Policy Committee in recent testimony.
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Fitzgerald said the legislation helps facilitate the practice of physical therapy across states with the goal of improving access to health care, while maintaining state regulatory authority. state to protect and prioritize the health and safety of residents through the state’s existing licensing system.
Last week, a state House committee passed legislation that Fitzgerald sponsored, House Bill 4504, and a companion bill, HB 4505, which would make Michigan the 38th state to join the Material Licensing Compact. physical therapy. The compact currently includes the neighboring states of Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin. Fitzgerald said Illinois is considering similar legislation for physical therapists.
HB 4504 and 4505 currently await action in the full House.
The 37 member states included in the PT Compact clearly demonstrate that their citizens have benefited from expanded access to safe and effective PT services. Brian Gilbert, vice president of the American Physical Therapy Association Michigan Chapter, said in testimony this month before the House Health Policy Committee that the citizens of Michigan deserve the same.
Joining the agreement could also help retain physical therapists who come to Michigan for training and then leave to work in another state that is already a member and where their licensing applies, Gilbert said. used in many fields. executive director at the Physical Rehabilitation Center in Grand Rapids.
It’s unfortunate that we have great physical therapy schools and training for out-of-state students, but when we have the opportunity to retain them, this becomes an obstacle, he said. I can sympathize with my colleagues who say they have lost candidates who didn’t want to go through the trouble of obtaining and retaining two separate licenses. A compact agreement would ease the burden and create opportunities to retain and attract talent to Michigan.
Entering the agreement will also allow patients who travel or live during the year in another state to continue using the same therapist via telehealth, maintaining continuity of care, Gilbert said. Gilbert said.
Licensed physical therapists must pay a fee to enter into the agreement and gain the ability to legally practice in states, said Jeff Rosa, administrator of the Board of Physical Therapy Licensing. another state.
The House Health Policy Committee forwarded the bills for the physical therapy contract as similar bills for other health professionals await consideration. The bill also comes at a time when many healthcare sectors are facing talent shortages.
These workforce issues can affect both the quality of care and an organization’s bottom line, said Rep. Julie Rogers, a Democrat from Kalamazoo and chair of the Health Policy Committee. , a practicing physical therapist.
Rogers is one of the sponsors of two bills, HB 4169 and 4170, for Michigan to join the multistate licensing agreement for occupational therapists that currently includes 26 states. In committee testimony, she cited an outlook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that predicts a 17% increase in the number of occupational therapist positions nationwide by 2030.
“There is a growing demand for these services and we must consider all options to expand access to the workforce,” said Rogers.
HB 4169 and 4170 await action in the House Health Policy Committee.
Similar legislation would include Michigan in licensing agreements for nurse practitioners and physician assistants. HB 4935 would require Michigan to join a 41-state nursing licensing agreement, while HB 5117 focuses on PA. Each is pending in the House Health Policy Committee.
The formation of the PA Licensing Treaty was completed late last year. The current agreement includes two states, Delaware and Utah. Michigan is one of three states, along with Ohio and Wisconsin, that are considering introducing legislation to join.
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