New York lawmakers aim to modify state law in the coming weeks to enable healthcare professionals from other states to continue working in New York facilities before Governor Kathy Hochul’s COVID-19-related executive order expires later this month. The executive order, which declares a statewide disaster emergency due to ongoing health staffing shortages, permits nurses, LPNs, and physicians licensed in other states to practice in New York, but is set to expire on May 22.
State Assemblywoman Pat Fahy introduced legislation this week to make a version of the pandemic practice permanent, allowing healthcare staff licensed in other states to practice medicine at state health facilities for six months while their application for a New York license is processed by the State Education Department. Fahy emphasized that the premature expiration of the executive order could exacerbate workforce shortages in hospitals and nursing homes, particularly in upstate New York.
While several New York nurses oppose the proposal, arguing that out-of-state health staff may reduce medical standards and compromise patient care, Beatrice Grause, president and CEO of the Health Care Association of New York State, supports the legislation and believes it provides flexibility to understaffed facilities. Grause also dismissed concerns about the quality of care provided by out-of-state staff, stating that there have been no issues to her knowledge. The association also supports New York joining the national Nursing Licensure Compact, which allows nurses to practice in any of the 39 US states that have enacted it.
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