State Rep. Bill Roemer’s (R-Richfield) legislation recently passed within the Ohio House, which seeks to boost the state’s healthcare workforce and services. The emergency legislation, under House Bill 6, acts as a timely bill due to the ongoing issues surrounding the pandemic. Roemer, the joint sponsor of the bill, spoke to it on the House floor.
“Given the recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, it is absolutely crucial that we act as soon as possible to remove these barriers and provide much-needed regulatory relief for our workforce, especially in healthcare,” said Roemer.
House Bill 6 makes changes to ease Ohio’s regulations, as a result, the bill works to advance healthcare workforce, increase access to services, and removes unnecessary burdens on employers and workers.
Specifically, some of the provisions of the bill include:
Extends a previous deadline date from March 1, 2021 to July 1, 2021 that suspends the requirement that a prospective nurse passes the licensure examination, and permits them to receive a temporary license to practice pending meeting all other requirements.
Codifies the expansion of allowing pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines and allows pharmacists to also test for COVID-19, correlating with the rules adopted by the State Board of Pharmacy.
Reduces barriers to enter the field of pharmacy more generally, by allowing students 17 years of age in a board-approved career tech program to register as pharmacy technician trainees.
Allows the Board of Pharmacy to extend the length of a pharmacy technician trainee registration to allow flexibility for applicants to finish their required education during the pandemic.
Codifies guidance issued by the Department of Education to schools that they should be flexible regarding the number of hours or weeks of field experience that a student must complete to be eligible for an education license or endorsement.
Requires nurses to have a bachelor’s degree (not necessarily in nursing), to obtain the newly-created school nurses registration, as is consistent with current rules promulgated by the Board of Education.
Roemer notes that the temporary nurse license deadline extension will speed up the workforce pipeline for upcoming college graduates. Additionally, on the provision of allowing pharmacists to give COVID-19 vaccines and tests, Roemer points out pharmacists can already administer flu shots under current law. The representative believes that extending current law to handle COVID-19 vaccines and tests will help increased access to healthcare, especially in rural areas, amid the pandemic.
The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.