Health Care Workforce Reform: COVID-19 Spotlights Need for Changes to Clinician Licensing

Cato Institute

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that government licensing of health professionals blocks access to care. Licensing gives state politicians the final word on allowable categories of clinicians, the education and training requirements for each category, and the range of services each category of clinician may perform. It reduces access to health services by increasing prices and reducing the supply of clinicians who can provide those services. It harms health professionals by preventing them from providing services they are competent to provide and by preventing capable individuals from entering or rising within health professions. By suspending such rules to improve access to care for COVID-19 patients, states have acknowledged that licensing prevents clinicians from providing services they are competent to provide….

..Right‐​skilling is critical to reduce costs across the spectrum of care. Academics and health care providers have proposed using right‐​skilling to reduce the cost of primary care by creating such new clinician categories as primary care technicians and community paramedics.6 “Psychiatric pharmacists … could help offset the shortage of psychiatrists by providing medication‐​management services.”

Read Full Article