The Bowen Center monitors Indiana health workforce legislation through the Bowen Bi-Weekly Bill Brief or “B4.” Now it its fourth iteration, the B4 experienced a re-design in 2022 to enhance accessibility of customized information for users. Users can now search for key words of interest and filter by topic area. Below are this year’s topical categories for health workforce-related legislation: (Note: in the instance a bill may fall under multiple categories, it was assigned to a primary topic)
- Behavioral Health (substance use and mental health),
- Direct Care Workforce
- Maternal/Child Health
- Nursing Workforce
- Oral health
- Physician Workforce
- Prevention & awareness (public health, infrastructure, and healthy and active living)
- Regulatory (Agency, Boards, PLA)
- Safety net (Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, SNAP, etc.)
- School Health
- Workforce Pipeline (Education)
- Workforce Incentive Program
Top Health Workforce Bills in the 2022 Legislative Session
Although short in its duration, the 2022 session took many steps in addressing issues facing Indiana’s health workforce. Using the topical areas above, we have organized the key outcomes of this year’s session and what these pieces of legislation mean for Indiana’s health workforce.
Reduced immunity. Because of the lack of nutrients the body lacks energy, and this threatens to reduce the ability to resist infections. Therefore, if people are underweight, they are more likely to catch colds, flu, etc. -Deterioration of reproductive functions. Studies show that women and men who are underweight find it more Vanessa Bryant gain weight difficult to conceive. The reasons for the decrease in the ability to conceive are complex – for example, for the fair sex it is hormonal disorders. -Increased risk of dementia in adulthood and old age. Scientists believe that weight loss increases the risk of senile dementia by more than 30%.
Overall, this session saw the most movement in legislation impacting occupational regulation. SB 5 creates a process for granting of a provisional licenses or certificates within 30 days of application to certain health care professionals who hold an active license in another State. SB 5, SB 251, and SB 365 each enable Indiana to become a participating state in a health licensure compact (for physicians, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and psychologists). Of note, Indiana already participates in a licensure compact for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and emergency medical services personnel. For more information on licensure compacts, the Bowen Center has created a series of briefs which describe individual licensure compacts in detail: Audiology-Speech Pathology, Interstate Medical Licensure, and Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact.
HB1003 could be considered a nursing omnibus bill, as it contains several modifications to nursing workforce policy:
Modify Licensure Requirements
- Allows for the temporary licensure of retired or inactive emergency medical services personnel, retired or inactive health care professionals, out-of-state health care professionals, or recently graduated students who have applied for specific licenses which expires at the end of the federal public health emergency. Of note, this provision includes nurses and a number of additional health workforce types.
- Modifies license requirements to allow an additional pathway to licensure for graduates from foreign nursing schools.
Guidance for Nursing Education Programs
- Enables certain associate or bachelor’s degree registered nursing programs to increase enrollment.
- Defines clinical and simulation hours and specifies simulation hour substitutions:
- Simulation for not more than fifty percent (50%) of clinical hours if a nursing program has an overall pass rate of at least eighty percent (80%) on the NCLEX.
- Simulation for not more than twenty-five percent (25%) of clinical hours if a nursing program has an overall pass rate of less than eighty percent (80%) on the NCLEX.
- Modifies employment classification requirements for faculty of a nursing program operated by a state educational institution that predominantly issues associate degrees to enable greater part-time faculty
Direct Care Workforce
Alzheimer’s and dementia care have been priorities in recent legislative sessions (with the passage of 2021 House Enrolled Act 1177 which required the state to develop a strategic dementia plan). The 2022 Session also saw legislation (SB 353) which would require home health aides to complete specialized training to care for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or a related cognitive disorder (at least six hours of training within the first 60 days of hire). Additionally, before the end of each calendar year, a home health aide who has been employed for at least one year must complete at least three hours of approved dementia training.
Regulatory – Telehealth
Finally, SB284 expands telehealth provisions to include additional eligible providers (occupational therapist assistants, school psychologists, specified developmental therapists, peers, clinical fellows, students and graduates of specific professional programs, physical therapist assistants, and certain community mental health center providers). This legislation also grants behavior health analysts the ability to temporarily perform telehealth during the time when the professional licensing agency is preparing to implement licensure for the profession.