Indiana lawmakers passed compact nursing license legislation during this year’s General Assembly, which ended last Wednesday.
The bill allows for the Indiana State Board of Nursing to issue compact nursing licenses and allows nurses and licensed practical nurses who already have their compact license to practice in Indiana. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law on Monday, according to data from StateScape.
Indiana is the 32nd state to join the enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact, narrowly beating out Alabama in passing an eNLC bill into law.
The new compact law will take effect on July 1, 2019, according to the bill’s text. Nurses and licensed practical nurses applying for a compact nursing license must pay $25 in addition to any other standard licensing fees.
The bill is expected to cut down on the amount of time it takes for nurses outside of Indiana to start working in the state. Currently, it can take several weeks for a non-Indiana nurse to obtain a single-state license.
Larry Jenkins, a client advisor for LiquidAgents Healthcare who frequently works with Indiana healthcare facilities, said the bill passing could greatly help hospitals fill travel jobs faster and more efficiently.
“Indiana has a ton of jobs available, but it can be a struggle to fill them because they were not a compact state, and not a lot of nurses I see have their Indiana license,” Jenkins said. “This will be really helpful to get more candidates to Indiana.
“I also see a lot of people from Kentucky [with a compact license] who want to work in Indiana, so this will be helpful for them as well.”
House Rep. Ed Clere introduced the bill and has advocated for Indiana to join the compact since last year. After a legislative study session over the summer, the bill quickly gained support during the 2019 General Assembly and passed the House in January.
“It’s important legislation for our area,” Clere told the News and Tribune. “It came to me about three years ago, and Hosparus Health and Baptist Health Floyd are two regional organizations that identified this as a top legislative priority. There are countless other providers that supported it and will benefit from it. It will help providers address workforce challenges and will improve access to quality health care.”
Supporters of the bill hope this will address gaps in nursing service across the Indiana-Kentucky state line, which was a issue frequently brought up to push legislators to support the bill.
“This is particularly important to border communities like Floyd County, where a nurse might live in Louisville and work in New Albany or vice versa,” the Indiana Chamber, a statewide business advocacy group, said in a press release. “For proponents, this is both a workforce and quality of care issue.”
Editor’s note: This story will be updated as more information about the process for obtaining an Indiana compact nursing license becomes available. Additionally, the original story stated the bill became law without a signature from Gov. Eric Holcomb. Holcomb signed the bill on the date the story was published, so it has been updated to reflect that information.
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