WHA Applauds Gov. Walker, Legislature for Supporting Nurse Licensure Compact

December 15, 2017

At Southwest Health in Platteville December 11, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law Senate Bill 417, legislation to maintain Wisconsin’s participation in the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) and ensure unnecessary licensure barriers do not prevent nurses from serving patients in Wisconsin communities. This law, 2017 Act 135, will allow 112,000 nurses in Wisconsin the opportunity to keep their interstate license, and it directly impacts over 500 nurses in southwest Wisconsin who depend on this compact license to practice across state borders.

Since 2000, Wisconsin has been part of an interstate nurse licensure agreement, which reduces regulatory burden on nurses looking to practice in Wisconsin from other compact states and also for Wisconsin nurses serving patients in other compact states. In 2015, this nurse licensure compact was updated and quickly adopted by 26 states—initiating the process for states in the current nurse licensure compact, like Wisconsin, to transfer to the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact. Wisconsin became the 27th state to join the eNLC when this legislation was signed into law.

“An adequately staffed health care workforce is critical to our hospitals and health systems to continue to deliver accessible, efficient and high-quality health care around the clock in their communities,” according to WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding. “WHA was proud to lead a coalition of health care organizations, including statewide nursing groups, to garner broad, bipartisan support of the eNLC in the Legislature and see this bill signed into law by Governor Walker.”

WHA has worked closely with the Wisconsin Board of Nursing, the Department of Safety and Professional Services and several health care and nursing organizations to enact legislation this year.

“High-quality health care attracts high-quality professionals, and Wisconsin health care is ranked at or near the top by many national measures,” according to Ann Zenk, WHA vice president, workforce and clinical practice. “Sustaining membership in a nurse licensure compact by joining the eNLC will benefit high-quality health care by making it easier for patients to access care by Wisconsin nurses. The enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact helps to remove licensure barriers for nurses successfully recruited to work in Wisconsin’s high-quality health care facilities from other states.”

“Governor Walker, Senator Marklein and Representatives VanderMeer and Tranel have been dedicated to sustaining and improving high-quality health care in Wisconsin—especially for those living in rural communities,” said Borgerding. “WHA has worked closely with these lawmakers this legislative session to provide additional funding to train physicians, advanced practice clinicians and allied health professionals in rural communities as part of the biennial state budget and the Rural Wisconsin Initiative. By signing Senate Bill 417, Governor Walker is taking additional steps to ensure that licensure doesn’t become an unnecessary hurdle for qualified nurses and the employers that depend on a nursing workforce in Wisconsin.”

The eNLC will be effective January 19, 2018. For additional information about the enhanced nurse licensure compact, contact Zenk at azenk@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

WHA summary of new Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact law now available to members

WHA prepares summaries of new laws passed during the 2017-18 Wisconsin legislative session that could impact Wisconsin’s hospitals and health systems. WHA legal and government relations staff have prepared a summary on eNLC, available in the WHA members only portal. This summary, together with additional summaries that will be prepared over the upcoming months, will help WHA members better understand newly enacted legislation.

The summaries are for WHA members only and will not be generally accessible on our website. Instead, they are posted to the WHA Member Portal, which can be found either at members.wha.org or by clicking on the “WHA Members Only” button on the www.wha.org website. Once in the WHA Member Portal, the summaries can be found in the dropdown menu under the “General” tab. The member portal is a secure location and requires a first-time user to obtain a username and password. If you do not have a member account, go to members.wha.org and click on “Register” to create an account. If you have questions about how to register, contact Tammy Hribar, thribar@wha.org or 608-274-1820.

WHA member forum webinar focuses on new Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact

On January 16, WHA will offer a WHA Member Forum webinar entitled “Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC): A Voluntary, Alternative & Expedited Process for Nurse Licensure.” See article below or register at www.whareg4.org/eNLCWebinar.

This story originally appeared in the December 15, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter