As Wisconsin lawmakers grapple with the state’s workforce shortage crisis in the health care sector – and across all industries – they are focusing much of their attention on proposals to overhaul parts of the state’s occupational licensing process. Their effort stems from the lengthy licensing delays at the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) – the state agency responsible for credentialing health care and other professionals – that is unfortunately worsening the growing labor crunch.
One occupational licensing bill (Assembly Bill 144) lawmakers are working on would require the state to grant preliminary occupational credentials to health care professionals. More specifically, the legislation, which has strong support from the health care community, requires DSPS to grant a preliminary credential to an individual who has met all the requirements for a permanent credential, including having completed all education, training, and supervised experience requirements.
An applicant for a preliminary license must also: 1.) Attest that they do not have a disqualifying arrest or conviction record; 2.) Verify that the position they have been hired for is within the scope of their practice; and 3.) Confirm that they have applied for a permanent credential. Finally, the health care employer that hired the applicant must verify that the individual has – to the best of the health care employer's knowledge – completed the required education, training, and supervised experience necessary for a permanent credential.
In addition to AB 144, please find below an overview of several other occupational licensing bills being considered by the Legislature:
- Assembly Bill 135 / Senate Bill 135
This legislative proposal would create a process for individuals who hold a license, certification, registration, or permit that was granted by another state to apply for and receive a reciprocal credential in Wisconsin.
- Assembly Bill 143 / Senate Bill 160
This bill would prohibit the state from requiring an applicant for one of the following health credentials to pass a statutes and rules examination as a condition of licensure or certification: 1.) Advanced practice nurse prescribers; 2.) Substance abuse counselors and clinical substance abuse counselors; 3.) Respiratory care practitioners; 4.) Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants; 5.) Pharmacists; and 6.) Professional counselors. The bill allows the state to require an applicant to affirm that they have read and understand the statutes and rules that apply to their professional practice.
- Assembly Bill 204 / Senate Bill 193
Under current law, a two-year renewal period applies to numerous health credentials administered by the WI Department of Safety and Professional Services. This bill revises each two-year renewal period in health professions to four-year renewal periods. Where required by current law, the bill also doubles the corresponding credential's continuing education requirement.