Skilled to Work: Legislature approves bill bringing Alabama into Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact

With Indiana, Louisiana and Kansas joining in July, Alabama is the only state in the Southeast that is not part of the compact.

Posted: May 2, 2019 2:57 PM
Updated: May 3, 2019 12:11 PM

If you want to work as a nurse here in Alabama, right now you need an Alabama license. However, new legislation heading to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk is about to change that.

“It will open up doors that have previously been barricaded or have been harder to open for travel nurses,” said Dr. Sarah Wilkinson-Buchmann, president of the Alabama State Nurses Association.

The Nurse Licensure Compact was developed back in 2000 and was modified into the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact in 2017. The Nurse Licensure Compact was developed back in 2000 and was modified into the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact in 2017.

The “it” refers to the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (ENLC). The ASNA was one of the strongest proponents of Alabama joining the 31 other states that are currently part of the compact.

“Most importantly, it will allow flexibility for practice,” said Wilkinson-Buchmann

Nurses in compact states receive one license that allows them to work in any other compact state.

Right now, there are 31 states in the compact, with Indiana, Louisiana and Kansas set to join on July 1, 2019. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Alabama is one of eight states with pending legislation as of last month.

States with no plans to join the compact, like Ohio and California, list concerns like “growth of telemedicine and telenursing” and the “loss of state revenue for new single state license.”

Chief Nursing Officer of Decatur Morgan Hospital Anaita Walden predicts the states remaining outside of the compact may have a more difficult time moving forward.

“When the majority of the states have this, it’s going to be difficult for states that don’t. Very difficult. Because the nurses are going to go to the states where they can easily go with one license,” said Walden.

The Alabama House of Representatives unanimously passed the senate version of the bill last Thursday. It got through it part thanks to the efforts of Rep. April Weaver, a registered nurse.

“She understood the true implications of it and could explain that in a way that somebody non-clinical would not be able to do,” said Walden.

She added that once Alabama joins the compact, it will help attract more talent to combat the nursing shortage some hospitals are seeing.

“I think that this is the smartest thing that we could do to make sure that we make it as easy as possible for nurses to not only work here and travel if they want to, but for travelers from other states to more easily come into our state,” said Walden.

Wilkinson-Buchmann said it will also allow Alabama nurses to readily help during natural disasters. And it will aid one of the largest groups here in Huntsville: military families.

“Military spouses will be able to readily transition into a work setting without having to apply for licensure in the State of Alabama,” said Wilkinson-Buchmann.

There’s also a hope that by putting Alabama on the same level as most other states, this can drive a legislative change to raise wages for nurses.

“Alabama is the lowest reimbursed state in the United States. So when you’re getting low reimbursement, it’s very difficult to keep up with wages the way we want to,” said Walden.

A bipartisan congressional delegation letter was sent to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma in March. The letter encouraged Verma to increase the reimbursement rate for Alabama.

Last week, CMS proposed a new rule that “could help address the unfair Medicare Wage Index reimbursement formula,” according to Senator Doug Jones’ office.

In a statement on April 24, Jones said, “These hospitals provide care to all Alabamians, regardless of their insurance status, and they have to absorb the costs when that care isn’t reimbursed. That puts the entire system on slippery financial footing and can hurt the broader community if a hospital is forced to close its doors.”

Jones serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Governor Ivey's office told WAAY 31 on Thursday that the bill is in the review process. They haven't said when the bill would be signed if she approves it, but National RN Recognition Day falls on Monday, May 6, which kicks off National Nurses Week.

To learn more about the ENLC, click here.

Huntsville
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 58°
Florence
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 59°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
56° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 56°
Decatur
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 55°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 59°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136055

Reported Deaths: 2364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19752350
Mobile13449292
Montgomery8852184
Tuscaloosa8654118
Madison792778
Shelby601349
Lee592760
Baldwin552650
Marshall396143
Calhoun353444
Etowah352145
Morgan331428
Houston292021
Elmore267348
DeKalb243221
St. Clair233036
Walker231984
Talladega217129
Limestone211920
Cullman190720
Dallas179126
Franklin178129
Autauga177325
Russell17633
Lauderdale172333
Colbert166626
Blount161715
Escambia161124
Chilton158830
Jackson158111
Covington140327
Dale139244
Coffee13596
Pike120510
Chambers116842
Tallapoosa116485
Clarke110016
Marion96829
Butler91339
Barbour8857
Winston74512
Marengo72420
Pickens66614
Bibb65610
Lowndes65427
Randolph65413
Hale64428
Geneva6344
Lawrence62123
Cherokee61213
Bullock60614
Monroe5908
Clay5878
Washington55913
Perry5416
Crenshaw54032
Conecuh53611
Wilcox53211
Henry5075
Macon48318
Fayette4628
Sumter43819
Cleburne3825
Lamar3702
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 192995

Reported Deaths: 2377
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30953459
Davidson26630306
Hamilton951995
Knox949779
Rutherford936189
Williamson531036
Sumner486598
Wilson351945
Putnam334940
Montgomery311144
Unassigned30425
Out of TN298627
Bradley296217
Madison292164
Sevier263815
Blount253524
Maury240924
Washington232836
Robertson222535
Sullivan219733
Hamblen193926
Tipton183219
Gibson170423
Trousdale16667
Hardeman158226
Wayne14995
Dyer138714
Bedford136417
Dickson127415
Coffee125413
Cumberland121718
Weakley120519
Fayette120419
Anderson120013
Obion119110
Henderson118924
Loudon11846
Carter117728
Greene116144
McMinn114625
Jefferson113014
Warren10757
Lawrence106713
Macon106721
Monroe105218
Hardin104716
Lauderdale99416
Haywood99221
Franklin9899
Lake9252
Roane9055
Carroll89920
McNairy89618
Bledsoe8624
White8479
Rhea84412
Hawkins82218
Cheatham81510
Marshall7785
Overton7586
Cocke7549
Smith73111
Johnson7262
Chester64310
Giles63117
Henry6289
Lincoln6241
Hickman5938
DeKalb57014
Crockett54219
Marion5338
Decatur5307
Fentress5263
Campbell4544
Claiborne4425
Polk39910
Grainger3863
Union3642
Benton3379
Jackson3315
Morgan3203
Grundy3095
Cannon2920
Unicoi2891
Humphreys2583
Sequatchie2381
Clay2335
Meigs2283
Houston2243
Scott2172
Stewart2142
Lewis2041
Moore1791
Van Buren1660
Perry1530
Pickett1232
Hancock1083

Community Events