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Bill would let doctors practice while they apply for Nevada license

A Senate bill to allow doctors licensed in other jurisdictions to practice in Nevada under a provisional six-month license while the medical licensing boards consider their applications drew fire from regulators on Monday.

Senate Bill 259 would allow both allopathic and osteopathic doctors — MDs and DOs — to practice in Nevada under the sponsorship of a physician licensed in the state, as long as they’re licensed and in good standing in their home jurisdiction, Sen. Keith Pickard, R-Henderson, told Senate Commerce and Labor Committee members in his introduction of the bill he co-sponsored.

“Endorsement does not mean that we are attracting substandard practitioners,” Pickard said. “The process of approval does not change at all.”

Leaders for the state osteopathic and medical boards disagreed, testifying that the bill would allow incoming doctors to circumvent the existing process for obtaining a Nevada license to practice medicine.

“We take our mandate to protect the public very seriously,” said Dr. Rachakonda Prabhu, president of the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners.

Under the bill, the incoming doctors would be subject to a background check and would be required to provide at least 60 hours of medical care to the underserved or spend that amount of time mentoring resident physicians.

Sen. Joseph Hardy, R-Boulder City, and Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, both physicians in Nevada, co-sponsored the bill with Pickard. The three legislators expressed concern about the long and arduous credentialing processes in Nevada, where the primary care shortage is among the worst in the nation.

Under the bill, doctors could practice while their license applications were processed.

“We have an understanding and a feeling in the nation that we (Nevada) are hard to get into,” Hardy said. “We’re trying to reverse that feeling.”

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

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