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Pennsylvania working on interstate licensing compacts

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(The Center Square) – State government’s mission to attract and retain health care workers took another step forward Wednesday.

The House of Representatives approved legislation paving the way for Pennsylvania’s participation in interstate licensing compacts. This means doctors, nurses, pharmacists, counselors, and many other medical professionals could soon practice in multiple states without applying for new licenses every time.

It’s an important step that could attract these in-demand workers from other states, said Rep. Frank Burns, D-Johnstown, who sponsored the legislation and chairs the House Professional Licensure Committee.

“Anyone who has waited hours or even days in an emergency room or had trouble finding a professional that is taking new patients will welcome this legislation,” he said.

The potential new compact would also expand health care access in the state’s rural communities and help meet the increasing demand of an aging population and shrinking labor pool.

Legislators say the demographic spiral is at the heart of Pennsylvania’s most pressing economic decisions, and addressing medical system inequities starts with affordable colleges and lucrative careers after graduation.

As such, the Senate also advanced a plan this week to allow certified nurse practitioners to offer primary health care services in rural counties after fulfilling a three-year, 36-hour collaboration agreement with a physician.

Prime sponsor Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Washington, said doing so would bridge the gap for 3.6 million residents.

Both proposals have to clear one more chamber before making it to the governor’s desk.

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