News Headlines Article

As Medicine Goes Digital, a Battle Brews Over State Licensing for Nurses
Wall Street Journal

Hospitals and some nursing groups are lobbying state legislators across the nation to do away with requirements that nurses be licensed in each state where they work, arguing that the rules inhibit the use of new health-care methods such as telemedicine.

The push to get states to join nursing licensing compacts reflects growing adoption of remote health services such as patient care and monitoring online and by the phone. Telemedicine, as it is known, is expected to soar in the U.S. to $1.9 billion in 2018 from $240 million in revenue in 2013, according to research firm IHS Technology.

But advocates of the effort are up against nurses’ unions who say such compacts would jeopardize patient safety because not all states have the same licensing standards. They also say it would erode their bargaining power and make it easier for hospitals to bring in out-of-state nurses to break a strike.

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