Lt. Governor Cagle and Sen. Unterman Address Nursing Shortage

March 1, 2017

ATLANTA, March 1, 2017 – Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, along with Senator Renee Unterman, Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, led the passage of Senate Bill 166, legislation which allows registered nurses (RN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) to have one multistate license through an enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).

“Georgia’s nurses are often the first line of care when we require medical attention,” said Lt. Governor Cagle. “I’m thankful Sen. Unterman shares my commitment to removing the barriers which prohibit our nurses and other healthcare professionals from providing care to those in need. We already face a staggering shortage of nurses in our state – streamlining the licensing process for nurses will ensure better access to care for Georgians.”

Our enhanced compact allows RNs and LPNs to practice in Georgia along with the 25 member states under one multistate license. This reform enables nurses to practice in person or provide telehealth services to patients across the nation.

“We have over 120,000 RN’s and LPN’s in the state of Georgia who are committed to taking care of our citizens,” said Sen. Unterman. “This bill simply allows these medical professionals to use their knowledge and expertise in a number of situations to provide care for our citizens as well as those who reside in states already included in the compact.”

If signed into law, this bill also allows nurses to quickly cross state lines and provide vital services in the event of a disaster. Furthermore, this compact removes burdensome expenses for healthcare professionals along with organizations who employ nurses that require multiple licenses.

"The NLC is important to Georgians because it will help ensure that Georgians have access to care during times of emergency and will reduce license wait times for nurses who are new to the state – especially military spouses,” said Marcus Downs, Chief Executive Officer, Georgia Nurses Association. “We are very grateful for Sen. Unterman's leadership on this very important and common-sense issue."

SB 166 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.