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Local News

House panel passes background check bill for Pennsylvania nurses and doctors to practice in other states

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Peter Hall, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
April 15, 2024

The FBI and Pennsylvania agencies involved in vetting people who apply for medical and nursing licenses have reached an agreement on how the state will perform criminal background checks to allow Pennsylvania doctors and nurses to practice in other states.

The state House Professional Licensure Committee on Monday approved legislation to establish a process for the Pennsylvania State Police to obtain fingerprints from people applying for new or interstate licenses and forward them to the FBI for comparison with state and federal databases. The state police would then report the results to the Department of State, which oversees professional licensure.

A communications breakdown between the state and the U.S. Department of Justice has prevented the state from conducting the criminal record checks necessary for Pennsylvania to fully implement the Nurse Licensure Compact and the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt testified in February.

The state partially implemented the Nurse Licensure Compact in September to allow nurses from other states that are members to practice in Pennsylvania but language on background checks in Pennsylvania’s law was deemed unacceptable, Professional Licensure Committee Chairman Frank Burns said. It left Pennsylvania nurses unable to work in the other states. 

Likewise, Pennsylvania’s participation in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which would allow Pennsylvania-licensed physicians to work in other states, has been in limbo since legislation authorizing Pennsylvania to join became law in 2016.

The requirement to provide fingerprints would apply only to applicants seeking a multi-state license and new licenses. Doctors and nurses with existing licenses would not be required to give fingerprints.

House Bill 2200 now goes to the full House for a vote and must also be approved by the state Senate. The law would take effect six months after it is signed. 

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.