Bill would adopt occupational therapy interstate compact

Occupational therapists licensed in Nebraska would be able to practice in certain other states under a bill considered Jan. 28 by the Health and Human Services Committee.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist03' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Carol Blood'>Sen. Carol Blood</a>
Sen. Carol Blood

LB15, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Carol Blood, would adopt the Occupational Therapy Practice Interstate Compact. Once in effect, the compact would allow licensed therapists to practice in other member states without having to obtain a separate license as currently is required.

The bill would address the rising need for occupational therapists in a more interconnected world in which state boundaries are less relevant, Blood said.

She added that while no states have yet enacted legislation to join the compact, several are considering it. Ten states are required to adopt the compact for it to take effect.

“We must account for industry-tailored reciprocity mechanisms like this compact,” Blood said. “In fact, it’s really irresponsible not to do so.”

Dr. Melissa Kimmerling of the Nebraska Occupational Therapy Association testified in support of LB15. She said the compact would expand the use of telehealth, particularly in rural areas.

“The compact would therefore improve the continuity of care for citizens in Nebraska,” Kimmerling said.

Dr. Cheryl Frickel, an occupational therapist, also testified in support, saying the bill would benefit military spouses.

“Military families move every three years on average,” Frickel said. “The compact helps military spouses relocate and begin work without delay.”

No one spoke in opposition to LB15 and the committee took no immediate action on it.

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