© 2022 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WKAR News

Bills would allow out-of-state medical workers to help relieve shortage

marcelo-leal-6pcGTJDuf6M-unsplash.jpg
Marcelo Leal
/
Unsplash

The Michigan Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on a bill to help relieve a health worker shortage by temporarily recognizing out-of-state professional licenses.

The health worker shortage created by COVID-19 is so dire, there’s probably no one thing that can fix it.

Republican Senator Curt VanderWall chairs the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee. He says every hospital system in the state is short-staffed and workers are stressed.

“They’re burning the candle at both ends,” he told Michigan Public Radio. “We’re just trying to help them a little but so they don’t burn out.”

His bill would recognize out-of-state licenses until the health care crisis has passed. Then, the previous licensing rules would be reinstated.

“Our hospital systems are overwhelmed. COVID patients are a big part of it,” he said. “Basically, what we’re trying to do is open up any avenue we can to allow health care professionals to help us through this situation brought on by COVID and the pandemic.”

The bill has bipartisan support and cleared the health policy committee unanimously. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has taken a neutral position on the bill. If it’s adopted by the Senate, the next stop would be the state House.

VanderWall says he’d like to have the bill sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer before the Legislature’s winter break. If not, he says it will be a top priority when the Legislature reconvenes in 2022.

News from WKAR will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.