BREAKING NEWS Huntsville veterans home employee tests positive for coronavirus Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

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
Broken Clouds
89° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 94°
Florence
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 100°
Fayetteville
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
89° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 94°
Scottsboro
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 98°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 45263

Reported Deaths: 1007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5410152
Montgomery4158103
Mobile4129134
Tuscaloosa232142
Marshall172410
Madison14917
Lee141137
Shelby133423
Morgan11215
Walker97824
Elmore94314
Franklin89814
Baldwin8949
Dallas8919
Etowah75013
DeKalb7375
Chambers64227
Butler63428
Autauga61012
Tallapoosa60569
Russell5650
Houston5074
Unassigned50323
Limestone5010
Lauderdale4966
Lowndes47221
Cullman4594
Pike4375
Colbert4086
St. Clair4022
Escambia3966
Coffee3812
Calhoun3765
Covington3707
Bullock36910
Barbour3532
Talladega3177
Hale31421
Marengo31211
Dale2990
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Jackson2842
Clarke2776
Winston2633
Chilton2522
Blount2431
Monroe2392
Pickens2366
Marion23313
Conecuh2107
Randolph2099
Macon1999
Choctaw19512
Bibb1941
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1117
Lawrence1100
Cherokee1027
Geneva830
Lamar781
Fayette711
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne381
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 52039

Reported Deaths: 652
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby11936201
Davidson11205121
Rutherford304035
Hamilton280435
Sumner163652
Trousdale14985
Williamson134015
Knox12098
Out of TN11987
Wilson96317
Putnam9067
Robertson83911
Sevier8303
Bradley7454
Lake6940
Tipton6495
Unassigned6351
Bledsoe6211
Bedford5705
Montgomery5677
Macon4874
Maury3573
Hardeman3524
Hamblen3434
Fayette3232
Madison3052
Loudon2881
Rhea2850
Dyer2543
McMinn23918
Cheatham2321
Blount2293
Dickson2120
Cumberland1834
Washington1740
Lawrence1646
Lauderdale1513
Anderson1442
Monroe1416
Jefferson1372
Gibson1291
Smith1221
Sullivan1212
Coffee1200
Greene1142
Obion1132
Hardin1097
Cocke940
Haywood932
Marshall921
Franklin883
Wayne880
Hickman800
Warren780
McNairy760
Marion744
White733
DeKalb680
Carter651
Lincoln650
Weakley641
Overton631
Giles621
Hawkins622
Roane620
Grundy611
Unicoi550
Campbell511
Carroll481
Claiborne480
Henderson480
Polk460
Henry450
Johnson440
Grainger410
Sequatchie410
Crockett403
Cannon370
Chester350
Perry340
Meigs320
Humphreys292
Jackson290
Morgan271
Fentress230
Stewart230
Decatur220
Union190
Clay180
Scott170
Houston150
Benton131
Moore130
Van Buren70
Hancock60
Lewis60
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events