On May 25, the Senate Committee on Licensing, Constitution and Federalism held a public hearing on SB 158, SB 193 and SB 194, legislation supported by WHA and introduced by the Wisconsin Legislative Council Study Committee on Occupational Licensure to improve the licensure process for health care professionals.
Senate Bill 193 would extend renewal timeframes for health care and business professions from two to four years. WHA Senior Vice President of Workforce and Clinical Practice Ann Zenk spoke on behalf of WHA in support of the legislation.
"This legislation will safely extend renewal timeframes to ease the renewal burden on providers while also giving DSPS (Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services) the flexibility to determine when renewals occur," said Zenk. "DSPS will be able to better load-level their work to break down current bottlenecks," she added.
Zenk also urged the committee to support Senate Bill 194, which would allow additional health care professions licensed and in good standing from another state the ability to practice immediately in Wisconsin by adding them to the list of licensed health care professions already able to do so under Wisconsin 2021 Act 10.
"I’m proud to report that 2021 Act 10 has been a tremendous success, helping us to recruit and staff up to better meet health care demand," said Zenk. “We previously had hospitals report that they missed out on hiring a qualified professional because another state beat Wisconsin to the punch in issuing them a license.” The specific health care professions it would add include radiographers, genetic counselors, dental hygienists, expanded function dental auxiliaries and naturopathic doctors.
The third bill WHA testified in support of, Senate Bill 158, builds on the success of 2021 Act 10 by creating a fast-track process for new graduates of health care training programs who have passed their national certification examination and cleared a criminal background check to allow them to begin practicing immediately if they attest to completing licensure requirements and have an employer who can also attest that to the best of the employer’s knowledge the applicant has met all licensure requirements.
The licensure bills heard by the Senate Committee are the latest in a series of licensure reforms suggested in a July 29 WHA memo to the Legislative Council Study Committee on Occupational Licensure that WHA is continuing to push for and see progress through Senate and Assembly committees.
Contact WHA Vice President of Federal and State Relations Jon Hoelter with questions.