Monday, May 23, 2022
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Minnesota Senate passes Nurse Licensure Compact bill

(The Center Square) – Minnesota taxpayers will pay $157,000 in fiscal year 2023 from its special revenue fund to the Board of Nursing to join the Nurse Licensure Compact if SF 2302 becomes law.

The base of the appropriation is $6,000 in fiscal year 2024 and $6,000 in fiscal year 2025, according to the bill, which the Senate passed in a 35-32 vote Monday. A motion to re-refer the bill to the Civil Law and Data Practices Policy committee was struck down in a 31-36 vote.

Thirty-nine states and territories are part of the compact. States in the compact recognize a multistate license to practice registered or licensed practical/vocational nursing that home states issues to their residents. Requirements of nurses include

  • Meeting home state qualifications
  • Undergoing background checks.
  • Graduating or being eligible to graduate from a licensing board-approved RN or LPN/VN pre-licensure education program.
  • Passing an English proficiency exam (if applicable).
  • Passing a National Council Licensure Examination exam.
  • Eligibility for or holding an active license.
  • No convictions or found guilty of felonies or misdemeanors related to nursing.

All states in the compact can challenge a nurse’s multistate licensure privilege. The state challenging a licensure must notify the administrator of the coordinated licensure information system.

Sen. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, a registered nurse, said she opposes the bill since other states do not hold the same nursing standards that Minnesota does. In addition to taking a standardized licensure exam, Minnesota nurses must complete 24 hours of continuing education every year, she said.

“From my perspective, the nursing compact will weaken the high expectations and high standards we have for professional nurses and professional nursing in Minnesota,” she said.

She said that the problem is not that the Minnesota has too few nurses but rather that nurses are leaving professional practice in hospitals. Minnesota joining the compact will not solve that challenge, she said. She said nurses are saying they need changes in hospital staffing, more mental health support, a reduction in violence at health care facilities, adequate faculty and loan forgiveness.

American Telemedicine Association (ATA) Action Executive Director Kyle Zebley said in a letter in February to Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee leaders that ATA Action supports the nursing licensure compact.

“NLC allows nurses to have one multistate license, in his or her state of residency, that grants the privilege to practice in other NLC participating state, both physically and remotely using telehealth,” Zebley said. “Utilizing telehealth nursing improves continuity of care for both urban and rural patients, especially those in underserved communities who may not have access otherwise. This is particularly important to enabling and delivering efficient, 21st century nursing care across state lines using digital health technologies.”

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