Veterans' Affairs: Potential Costs of Changes in Licensing Requirement Outweigh Benefit - GAO Report
|Date:||May 21, 1999|
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Proposed legislation introduced in the 105th Congress would have required health care professionals in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities to work only in states where they are licensed to practice. Concerns were raised about the bill's possible effect on the VA health care system. GAO found that the potential costs to VA of requiring physicians and registered nurses to be licensed where they practice would likely exceed any benefit. Up to 14 percent of VA's physicians and 13 percent of its registered nurses would have to obtain new state licenses or transfer to other states. The literature and representatives of physician and nursing boards indicated that the quality of patient care and differences in state licensing practices are not directly linked. VA's telemedicine services that cross state lines would be significantly hampered if physicians and registered nurses were required to be licensed in every state where they provide care.