State Representative Nick Milroy (D-South Range) has introduced legislation that would temporarily allow out-of-state and former health care providers to practice in Wisconsin during an emergency declared by the governor.
“Many residents of Northwestern Wisconsin who live near the Wisconsin-Minnesota border have struggled to receive necessary care during the COVID-19 pandemic because Minnesota health care providers have not always been authorized to see them,” said Milroy. “If passed, this bill would make health care more accessible during an emergency for residents near the border.”
Milroy pointed out that this past April Act 185 (Assembly Bill 1038) was enacted to address the COVID-19 pandemic. “This new law authorized health care providers licensed in another state and former Wisconsin healthcare providers to receive a temporary credential from the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to practice in Wisconsin until 30 days after the end of Governor Evers’ Safer at Home Executive Order ended,” explained Milroy. “The problem is that the temporary credentials expired while the pandemic emergency is ongoing. Wisconsinites receiving care from a temporarily credentialed doctor are now struggling to meet their continued health care needs.”
“It is important that we learn from these experiences and make sure that going forward, Wisconsin residents are able to get the care they need from out-of-state providers and former health care providers when faced with an emergency,” Milroy said.
Under this bill, an individual who holds a valid, unexpired license in another state would be allowed to practice as a physician, physician assistant, nurse, dentist, pharmacist, psychologist, social worker, or other health care-related professional during an emergency. The same would be true for those who held a credential in Wisconsin within the last five years for one of those professions. In addition, to practice under the bill, a health care provider must be unable to obtain a credential from DSPS or an attached examining board before providing services and must practice at an approved facility. A healthcare provider must apply to DSPS within 30 days of first practicing and must notify DSPS within 10 days of when they begin providing services.
“Public health emergencies are stressful enough without having to worry that nearby doctors won’t be able to provide care for you and your loved ones when needed the most,” Milroy said. “During difficult times, we must make sure health care is as accessible as possible for Wisconsin families. The health and safety of our communities have to be our top priority.”