South Dakota eases licensing process for out-of-state health workers

March 23, 2021

South Dakota is hoping to boost its health care workforce and be prepared for future public health emergencies
with a new law that recognizes out-of-state professional licenses.

HB 1077, which took just a month to go from introduction to Gov. Kristi Noem’s desk, directs state licensing boards to “issue a license, certificate, registration or permit” to someone as long as the qualifications for their out-of-state license are “substantially equivalent to or exceed” those in South Dakota. The new law also authorizes a provisional license if the person has to satisfy additional requirements to qualify.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governors issued executive orders in 2020 allowing for this kind of
flexibility in licensing requirements.

Along with Noem, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has made it a priority to make these changes permanent. Ricketts
touted the idea in his State of the State address, and this year’s LB 390 would allow holders of medical licenses from other states to more easily receive a license to practice in Nebraska. The bill, dubbed the “Uniform Credentialing Act,” identifies 27 different professions — from speech language pathologists and dialysis technicians, to mental health practitioners and occupational therapists.

Several Midwestern states already are members of licensure compacts. For example, all Midwestern states except Indiana and Ohio are members of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. Nebraska, North Dakota and Iowa are in the Physical Therapy Compact; and Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, and North Dakota are part of the EMS Compact.