Nurse Licensing Bill Goes To Governor

Feb 13, 2017

Governor Dennis Daugaard gets to decide whether certain medical professionals must collaborate with doctors for licensing. Right now certified nurse practitioners and nurse midwives must have an official connection to a physician to get their own licenses. Now lawmakers endorse a bill changing the requirement.

Both chambers of South Dakota’s legislature support Senate Bill 61.

State Representative Jean Hunhoff says the measure eliminates a requirement that certified nurse practitioners and nurse midwives be joined to physicians for licensing.

"This isn’t a divorce. This is a streamlining of the regulation of nursing practice," Hunhoff says. "No other professional license is subject to dual-board licensure."

Hunhoff says the bill does not make CNPs and CMs independent health providers. She says these advanced nurses are part of a greater medical community where collaboration happens daily.

Some lawmakers were concerned the move costs money, but a fiscal note shows it saves tens of thousands of dollars. State Representative Steven McCleery is a board member for an area health system.

"We charge $100 per hour for ER. Fifty percent of that goes to a PA or nurse practitioner. The other fifty percent goes to the medical doctor, who is sitting at home," McCleery says.

Lawmakers debated the number of training hours to require for CNPs and nurse midwives. Two neighboring states mandate more than 2,000 hours. Others require zero. South Dakota’s plan includes 1,040 hours beyond clinical hours that certified nurse practitioners and nurse midwives complete during their bachelor’s and master’s education programs.

A vote of 62-6 in the SD House of Representatives sends Senate Bill 61 to Governor Dennis Daugaard’s desk.