CHICAGO – Kentucky has joined Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Utah and Wyoming as a member of the eNLC. Gov. Matt Bevin signed the bill March 22, 2017.
Allowing nurses to have mobility across state borders, the eNLC increases access to care while maintaining public protection. The eNLC, which is an updated version of the current NLC, allows for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in both their home state and other NLC states. The eNLC will come into effect the sooner of 26 states enacting the eNLC or Dec. 31, 2018. All states, including those participating in the existing NLC, must introduce legislation in the coming years to enter into the enhanced NLC.
“Achieving passage of the eNLC in the Commonwealth of Kentucky represents a collaboration of efforts between the Kentucky General Assembly, the board of nursing, nursing professional organizations, employers of nurses and others. The eNLC will benefit the public at large through increased accessibility of nursing services. This means that more than 71,000 nurses whose primary state of residence is Kentucky can continue to enjoy the benefits of licensure that will be recognized in other eNLC states. This is a great day for nursing regulation in our state!” commented Paula Schenk, MPH, RN, executive director, Kentucky Board of Nursing.
Patient safety being of paramount importance led to the addition of new features found in the provisions of the legislation of the eNLC. Licensing standards are aligned in eNLC states so all nurses applying for a multistate license are required to meet the same standards, which include a federal and state criminal background check that will be conducted for all applicants applying for multistate licensure.
The eNLC enables nurses to provide telehealth nursing services to patients located across the country without having to obtain additional licenses. In the event of a disaster, nurses from multiple states can easily respond to supply vital services. Additionally, almost every nurse, including primary care nurses, case managers, transport nurses, school and hospice nurses, among many others, needs to routinely cross state boundaries to provide the public with access to nursing services, and a multistate license facilitates this process.
Boards of nursing (BONs) were the first health care provider regulatory bodies to develop a model for interstate practice with the original adoption of the NLC in 1997 and its implementation in 2000. While other health care provider regulatory bodies are just getting started in this process, the NLC has been operational and successful for more than 15 years.