Policymakers in Arkansas have advanced a measure that would recognize medical licenses from out-of-state. The Arkansas Policy Foundation, an Atlas Network partner, highlighted the strain that COVID-19 has put on the medical sector in their state, leading to a shortage of supplies and services. Greg Kaza, executive director at the Arkansas Policy Foundation, noted that bordering states had existing Good Samaritan laws, which allowed licensed doctors and nurses to volunteer across state lines. Kaza was featured in two of the largest newspapers in the state, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Jonesboro Sun.
As the measure makes its way through the state legislative process, the Arkansas Policy Foundation is confident that it will provide much-needed relief in the wake of the pandemic, especially for low-income individuals. “Allowing Good Samaritans to help Arkansans would increase medical supply in response to COVID-19,” explained Kaza. “It would also maintain expanded access in underserved rural areas of Arkansas once the outbreak ends.”
Governor Hutchinson signed two executive orders aimed at curbing occupational licensing requirements at the start of the outbreak, and his administration continues to research the issue through a state working group. The executive orders played a critical role in dulling the economic fallout earlier in the year, making further licensing reform a state-priority and politically popular.
Atlas Network supported this initiative with a grant.