WFYI October 14, 2022
Dan Gorenstein and Leslie Walker

Who is allowed to care for patients? And when, where and how can they do it? Those questions have been the focus of more than 450 bills and 200 executive orders introduced in state capitols since COVID-19 hit.

“This is the wild west,” said Bianca Frogner, director of the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies.

In the early days of the pandemic, lawmakers took bold measures, from calling nurses out of retirement to graduating medical students early.

“Every state was scrambling to get the people that [they needed],” Frogner said. “And they realized one way to solve this problem [was] to revisit some of these regulations.”

Those regulations, commonly known as scope of practice rules, define the limits...

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