Hamilton Project policy proposal on barriers for nurses and physician assistants. In addition to determining who can and cannot practice medicine, occupational licensing restricts which licensed professionals can perform which medical procedures through scope of practice laws. In a new report, E. Kathleen Adams and Sara Markowitz propose fully authorizing scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and allowing individual practices to determine the ability of physician assistants to work with physicians. The report finds that greater utilization of these healthcare professionals would reduce healthcare costs while increasing accessibility for patients who can have their medical needs addressed by these workers.
Mercatus Center updates Healthcare Openness and Access Project. The project ranks the 50 states and District of Columbia on access, affordability, and quality of healthcare delivery. Included in their ranking criteria is a measure of the restrictiveness of occupational licensing and scope of practice laws. You can read the accompanying report here.
Governor Tom Wolf looks to reform Pennsylvania’s occupational licensing regulations. On the heels of a report on occupational licensing commissioned by the governor last year, Wolf announced his intent to eliminate licensing requirements for 13 professions, including barbers, auctioneers, and hair braiders by either eliminating licensing requirements entirely or using less restrictive regulations, like requiring only registration and bonding. Wolf also wants to ease licensing requirements for military spouses, streamline the application process, and pass “second chance” legislation that makes it easier for those with criminal records to become licensed. You can read the report on occupational licensing in the commonwealth here.
Marco Rubio and Elizabeth Warren introduce legislation to protect licensed workers. In 19 states, default on student loans will lead to license suspension, a policy that has hurt at least 8,700 workers in the past few years according to the New York Times. The legislation would stop states from taking away the driver’s or occupational licenses from those who have defaulted on student loan debt. Senator Rubio apologized on Twitter for voting to remove licenses for student loan defaulters while in the Florida state legislature.
Michigan wants to license naturopathic physicians. Naturopathy is a form of alternative medicine that supports homeopathy, herbal remedies, and the field has a mixed record on vaccination. Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia license naturopathic physicians.
Telemedicine bill passes Pennsylvania Senate. The bill would allow licensed healthcare professionals ranging from physicians and psychologists to dental hygienists and licensed social workers to practice telemedicine under regulations issued by their respective licensing boards. Read the Senate’s analysis of the bill here.