The Governor of Nebraska. Pete Ricketts signed an executive order that will allow drug counselors, physical therapists, and other health professionals to practice in their field, even if they are not licensed in Nebraska, to try to address the staff shortage that has worsened during the COVID pandemic. -19.
The order signed Wednesday is part of an effort to increase the number of healthcare professionals by relaxing the state’s licensing requirements. It will remain in force until the end of the year.
The governor’s office said the order was an extension of its decision to declare a “hospital staff emergency” in August, which was triggered by a backlog of largely virus-free patients who postponed receiving medical treatment before the pandemic.
One part of the order allows alcohol and drug counselors, speech-language pathologists, nursing home administrators, and others to work in Nebraska even if they haven’t been licensed by the state, as long as they have a current license in an other state. It also makes it easier for those whose licenses are expired or expired to renew them by submitting an application to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Additionally, Ricketts suspended continuing competency requirements for physical therapists and others to make it easier for them to stay on the job.
Marcia Mueting, executive director of the Nebraska Pharmacists Association, said the order temporarily suspends a state law that limits the number of student pharmacists and technicians a pharmacist can supervise to three at a time.
Mueting said the pharmacists’ workload has increased significantly as patients receive flu shots in addition to COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. He said the industry was struggling with a pharmaceutical shortage even before the pandemic, and some retailers are offering hiring bonuses of up to $ 50,000 to try to attract candidates.
“Everybody is very thin,” he said.