The States Handling Access to Reciprocity for Employment Act, introduced this month by a bipartisan group of congressmen, aims to help address workforce shortages in healthcare by removing barriers to healthcare licensing that professionals face when moving from one state to another. 

“This legislation would improve the current licensing process for healthcare providers and increase the number of licensed providers able to serve communities across state lines,” according to the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living. 

“We greatly appreciate Representatives Mann and Neguse for introducing this bipartisan legislation as the long-term care sector continues to experience a historic labor shortage. These efforts to improve the current licensing process for health care professionals and to increase the number of licensed professionals able to serve communities across state lines is invaluable during this challenging time, and we hope Congress will pass this important legislation,” AHCA/NCAL told the McKnight’s Business Daily.

The act could address the “extreme workforce shortages” facing healthcare facilities and hospitals that are resulting in “a considerable strain” on the healthcare system, especially in rural areas, according to Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS), a cosponsor of the bill.

“One way that we can address this shortage is to improve the licensure process for our current providers, who must obtain a unique license or certification from each state in which they practice. The licensure process can be burdensome and strips providers of the ability to practice in any new state until their application is approved — sometimes taking more than half a year,” he said.

The SHARE Act would:

  • Authorize the FBI to share criminal history record information between states for licensure purposes;
  • Allow states to cooperate while protecting each state’s authority to determine whether a provider is eligible to practice in a particular state;
  • Address the workforce shortage by extending the reach of healthcare professionals, eliminating the time necessary for state-to-state checks, improving access to medical specialists and leveraging the use of new medical technologies such as telehealth. 

“By allowing the FBI to share information between states, the SHARE Act would eliminate one challenge in an often-complex and time-intensive process, which is a positive,” Christy Kramer, vice president of student engagement and workforce relationships for the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, who also is LeadingAge’s representative on the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards Foundation board, told the McKnight’s Business Daily.

“Action like this is needed on many fronts to really make a difference. NAB, for instance, added a new credential, the Health Services Executive, now adopted by about one-half of all US states, to create portability for those achieving the HSE credential,” Kramer added.