Lawmakers look to compacts to solve shortage of medical professionals

A compact could allow accredited professionals in other states to come to Nevada.
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 4:08 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -As part owner of “Battle Born Health” physical therapist Danielle Litoff knows all too well just how vital her services can be. In the business for 27 years, she says physical therapists can get patients moving again.

But for patients who wait, it can have a cascading effect on other parts of the body.

“That stress or strain I’m limping, it might be putting excess strain on my knee or my hip or my back and later on in life, I end up having hip or back pain,” says Litoff, who is a doctor of physical therapy.

While most patients don’t want to wait to see a physical therapist, it may be unavoidable. That’s because there is a shortage of these medical professionals in our state.

That’s why this session, lawmakers are considering Senate Bill 97, which would allow a physical therapist licensed and practicing in what’s called a “Physical Therapy Compact” state to move permanently or temporarily to another state within the compact. They could practice in that alternative compact state without having to get that alternative state’s license.

Those in favor of the compact say it is easier on families who move around the country. And less expensive as the professional would only need to keep, renew and be in good standing in one compact state to practice in the others.

“You have to stay within the regs of the state you are participating in,” says Litoff. “No matter what your licensure allows for in your home state”

“There are no paramedics in the shadows of our communities waiting to be hired,” says Adam Heinz, Chief Operations Officer at REMSA Health.

Which is why there’s another compact bill in front of lawmakers involving EMTs and Paramedics.

Similar to the physical therapy bill, AB 158 would allow a paramedic or EMT from a participating compact state to legally work in another compact state provided they are in good standing with the original home state.

Right now, there are 22 states in this compact.

“There are a limited group within our state that can provide care,” says Heinz. “Particularly when it is special events season. So, we want to have the ability to potentially call individuals who are properly credentialed through this compact who are working in conjunction with local jurisdictions so you can coordinate care.”

No action has been taken on SB 97 or AB 158. But we also know lawmakers have wrestled with a nursing compact bill over the past several sessions.

We’ll keep you updated.