Law:Title 3. Health Professions. Subtitle E. Regulation Of Nursing from Chapter 304. Nurse Licensure Compact (Texas)

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Subtitle E. Regulation Of Nursing

Contents

Chapter 304. Nurse Licensure Compact

Section  304.001.  Nurse Licensure Compact.

The Nurse Licensure Compact is enacted and entered into with all other jurisdictions that legally join in the compact, which is as follows:

NURSE LICENSURE COMPACT

ARTICLE 1. FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF PURPOSE

(a)  The party states find that:

(1)  the health and safety of the public are affected by the degree of compliance with and the effectiveness of enforcement activities related to state nurse licensing laws;

(2)  violations of nurse licensing and other laws regulating the practice of nursing may result in injury or harm to the public;

(3)  the expanded mobility of nurses and the use of advanced communication technologies as part of our nation's health care delivery system require greater coordination and cooperation among states in the areas of nurse licensing and regulation;

(4)  new practice modalities and technology make compliance with each state nurse licensing laws difficult and complex; and

(5)  the current system of the duplicative licensing of nurses practicing in multiple states is cumbersome and redundant to both nurses and the states.

(b)  The general purposes of this compact are to:

(1)  facilitate the states' responsibilities to protect the public's health and safety;

(2)  ensure and encourage the cooperation of party states in the areas of nurse licensing and regulation;

(3)  facilitate the exchange of information between party states in the areas of nurse regulation, investigation, and adverse action;

(4)  promote compliance with the laws governing the practice of nursing in each jurisdiction; and

(5)  invest all party states with the authority to hold a nurse accountable for meeting all state practice laws in the state in which the patient is located at the time care is provided through the mutual recognition of party state licenses.

ARTICLE 2. DEFINITIONS

In this compact:

(a)  "Adverse action" means a home or remote state action.

(b)  "Alternative program" means a voluntary, nondisciplinary monitoring program approved by a nurse licensing board.

(c)  "Coordinated licensure information system" means an integrated process for collecting, storing, and sharing information on nurse licensing and enforcement activities related to nurse licensing laws, which is administered by a nonprofit organization composed of and controlled by state nurse licensing boards.

(d)  "Current significant investigative information" means:

(1)  investigative information that a licensing board, after a preliminary inquiry that includes notification and an opportunity for the nurse to respond if required by state law, has reason to believe is not groundless and, if proved true, would indicate more than a minor infraction; or

(2)  investigative information that indicates that a nurse represents an immediate threat to public health and safety regardless of whether the nurse has been notified and had an opportunity to respond.

(e)  "Home state" means the party state that is the nurse's primary state of residence.

(f)  "Home state action" means any administrative, civil, equitable, or criminal action permitted by the home state's laws that are imposed on a nurse by the home state's licensing board or other authority, including actions against an individual's license such as revocation, suspension, probation, or any other action that affects a nurse's authorization to practice.

(g)  "Licensing board" means a party state's regulatory body responsible for issuing nurse licenses.

(h)  "Multistate licensing privilege" means current, official authority from a remote state permitting the practice of nursing as a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or licensed vocational nurse in the party state. All party states have the authority, in accordance with existing state due process laws, to take actions against the nurse's privilege, including revocation, suspension, probation, or any other action that affects a nurse's authorization to practice.

(i)  "Nurse" means a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or licensed vocational nurse as those terms are defined by each party state's practice laws.

(j)  "Party state" means any state that has enacted this compact.

(k)  "Remote state" means a party state, other than the home state, in which:

(1)  a patient is located at the time nursing care is provided; or

(2)  in the case of the practice of nursing not involving a patient, the recipient of nursing practice is located.

(l)  "Remote state action" means:

(1)  an administrative, civil, equitable, or criminal action permitted by a remote state's laws that are imposed on a nurse by the remote state's licensing board or other authority, including an action against an individual's multistate licensing privilege to practice in the remote state; and

(2)  a cease and desist order and other injunctive or equitable orders issued by remote states or the licensing boards of remote states.

(m)  "State" means a state, territory, possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(n)  "State practice laws" means a party state's laws and regulations that govern the practice of nursing, define the scope of nursing practice, and create the methods and grounds for imposing discipline. The term does not include the initial qualifications for licensing or requirements necessary to obtain and retain a license, except for qualifications or requirements of the home state.

ARTICLE 3. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND JURISDICTION

(a)  A license to practice registered nursing issued by a home state to a resident in that state will be recognized by each party state as authorizing a multistate licensing privilege to practice as a registered nurse in the party state. A license to practice licensed practical nursing or licensed vocational nursing issued by a home state to a resident in that state will be recognized by each party state as authorizing a multistate licensing privilege to practice as a licensed practical nurse or vocational nurse in the party state. To obtain or retain a license, an applicant must meet the home state's qualifications for a license and license renewal as well as all other applicable state laws.

(b)  A party state may, in accordance with state due process laws, limit or revoke the multistate licensing privilege of any nurse to practice in the party state and may take any other necessary actions under the party state's applicable laws to protect the health and safety of the party state's citizens. If a party state takes this action, the party state shall promptly notify the administrator of the coordinated licensure information system. The administrator of the coordinated licensure information system shall promptly notify the home state of any such actions by remote states.

(c)  A nurse practicing in a party state must comply with the state practice laws of the state in which the patient is located at the time care is provided. The practice of nursing includes patient care and all nursing practice defined by the party state's practice laws. The practice of nursing will subject a nurse to the jurisdiction of the nurse licensing board, the courts, and the laws of the party state.

(d)  This compact does not affect additional requirements imposed by states for advanced practice registered nursing. However, a multistate licensing privilege to practice registered nursing granted by a party state shall be recognized by another party state as a license to practice registered nursing if the state's law requires the license as a precondition for qualifying for advanced practice registered nurse authorization.

(e)  Individuals not residing in a party state may apply for a nurse license under the laws of a party state. However, the license granted to these individuals will not be recognized as granting the privilege to practice nursing in any other party state unless explicitly agreed to by that party state.

ARTICLE 4. APPLICATION FOR LICENSE IN A PARTY STATE

(a)  Once an application for a license is submitted, the licensing board in a party state shall ascertain, through the coordinated licensure information system, whether:

(1)  the applicant has held or is the holder of a license issued by another state;

(2)  a restriction exists on the multistate licensing privilege; and

(3)  any other adverse action by any state has been taken against the license.

(b)  A nurse in a party state shall hold a license that is issued by the home state in only one party state at a time.

(c)  A nurse who intends to change the nurse's primary state of residence may apply for a license in the new home state in advance of the change. However, a new license will not be issued by a party state until a nurse provides satisfactory evidence to the new home state's licensing board of a change in the nurse's primary state of residence.

(d)  When a nurse changes the nurse's primary state of residence by moving from:

(1)  a party state to another party state and obtains a license from the new home state, the license from the former home state is no longer valid;

(2)  a non-party state to a party state and obtains a license from the new home state, the individual state license issued by the non-party state is not affected and remains in full force if provided by the laws of the non-party state; and

(3)  a party state to a non-party state, the license issued by the prior home state converts to a state license valid only in the former home state and does not entitle the nurse to the multistate licensing privilege to practice in other party states.

ARTICLE 5. ADVERSE ACTIONS

(a)  The licensing board of a remote state shall promptly report to the administrator of the coordinated licensure information system a remote state action and the factual and legal basis for the action, if known. The licensing board of a remote state shall promptly report any significant current investigative information yet to result in a remote state action. The administrator of the coordinated licensure information system shall promptly notify the home state of these reports.

(b)  The licensing board of a party state shall have the authority to complete a pending investigation of a nurse who changes the nurse's primary state of residence during the course of the investigation and to take appropriate action. The licensing board shall promptly report the conclusions of the investigations to the administrator of the coordinated licensure information system. The administrator of the coordinated licensure information system shall promptly notify the new home state of any action.

(c)  A remote state may take adverse action affecting the multistate licensing privilege to practice in that party state. However, only the home state has the power to impose adverse action against the license issued by the home state.

(d)  For purposes of imposing adverse action, the licensing board of the home state shall give the same priority and effect to reported conduct received from a remote state as it would to conduct occurring in the home state. In so doing, the licensing board shall apply its state laws to determine appropriate action.

(e)  The home state may take adverse action based on the factual findings of the remote state only if each state follows its own procedures for imposing the adverse action.

(f)  This compact does not affect a party state's decision that participation in an alternative program may be used instead of licensing action and that the participation shall remain non-public if required by the party state's laws. Party states must require a nurse who enters an alternative program to agree not to practice in any other party state during the term of the alternative program without prior authorization from the other party state.

ARTICLE 6. ADDITIONAL AUTHORITIES OF PARTY STATE NURSE LICENSING BOARDS

(a)  Notwithstanding any other powers, party state nurse licensing boards have the authority to:

(1)  if otherwise permitted by state law, recover from the affected nurse the costs of investigations and disposition of cases resulting from any adverse action taken against the nurse;

(2)  issue subpoenas for hearings and investigations that require the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of evidence;

(3)  issue a cease and desist order to limit or revoke a nurse's authority to practice in the state; and

(4)  adopt uniform rules as provided under Article 8(c) of this compact.

(b)  A subpoena issued by a nurse licensing board in a party state for the attendance and testimony of witnesses or the production of evidence from another party state shall be enforced in the non-issuing party state by a court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with the practice and procedure applicable to subpoenas issued in proceedings pending before the court. The issuing authority shall pay any witness fees, travel expenses, mileage, and other fees required by the service statutes of the state in which a witness or evidence is located.

ARTICLE 7. COORDINATED LICENSURE INFORMATION SYSTEM

(a)  All party states shall participate in a cooperative effort to create a coordinated database of all licensed registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and licensed vocational nurses. This system will include information on the licensing and disciplinary history of each nurse, as contributed by party states, to assist in the coordination of nurse licensing and enforcement efforts.

(b)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all party states' licensing boards shall promptly report to the coordinated licensure information system adverse actions, actions against multistate licensing privileges, any current significant investigative information yet to result in adverse action, and denials of applications and the reasons for the denials.

(c)  Current significant investigative information shall be transmitted only to party state licensing boards through the coordinated licensure information system.

(d)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all party states' licensing boards that contribute information to the coordinated licensure information system may designate information that may not be shared with non-party states or disclosed to other entities or individuals without the express permission of the contributing state.

(e)  Any personally identifiable information obtained by a party state's licensing board from the coordinated licensure information system may not be shared with non-party states or disclosed to other entities or individuals except to the extent permitted by the laws of the party state contributing the information.

(f)  Information contributed to the coordinated licensure information system that is subsequently required to be expunged by the laws of the party state contributing that information shall be expunged from the coordinated licensure information system.

(g)  Each compact administrator shall act jointly and in consultation with the administrator of the coordinated licensure information system to formulate necessary and proper procedures for the identification, collection, and exchange of information under this compact.

ARTICLE 8. COMPACT ADMINISTRATION AND EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION

(a)  The presiding officer of the nurse licensing board of a party state or the presiding officer's designee shall be the administrator of this compact for the state.

(b)  The compact administrator of each party state shall furnish to the compact administrator of each other party state information and documents including a uniform data set of investigations, identifying information, licensing data, and disclosable alternative program participation information to facilitate the administration of this compact.

(c)  Compact administrators have the authority to develop uniform rules to facilitate and coordinate implementation of this compact. The uniform rules shall be adopted by party states under Article 6(a)(4) of this compact.

ARTICLE 9. IMMUNITY

A party state or an officer, employee, or agent of a party state's nurse licensing board who acts in accordance with the provisions of this compact is not liable for any good faith act or omission that occurs while the person is performing the person's duties under this compact. Good faith in this article does not include wilful misconduct, gross negligence, or recklessness.

ARTICLE 10. EFFECTIVE DATE, WITHDRAWAL, AND AMENDMENT

(a)  This compact enters into force and takes effect for a state when the state enacts this compact as law. A party state may withdraw from the compact by enacting a statute repealing the compact, but a withdrawal takes effect six months after the date the withdrawing state gives notice of the withdrawal to the executive heads of all other party states.

(b)  No withdrawal shall affect the validity or applicability by the licensing boards of states remaining party to the compact of any report of adverse action occurring prior to the withdrawal.

(c)  This compact does not invalidate or prevent any nurse licensing agreement or other cooperative arrangement between a party state and a non-party state that is made in accordance with the other provisions of this compact.

(d)  This compact may be amended by the party states. An amendment to this compact is not effective or binding on the party states unless and until all party states enact the amendment into the law of each state.

ARTICLE 11. CONSTRUCTION AND SEVERABILITY

(a)  This compact shall be liberally construed to effectuate the compact's purposes.

(b)  This compact is severable. If a phrase, clause, sentence, or provision of this compact is declared to be contrary to the constitution of a party state or the United States or the applicability of this compact to a government, agency, person, or circumstance is held invalid, the validity and applicability of the remainder of the compact to a government, agency, person, or circumstance is not affected. If this compact is held to be contrary to the constitution of a party state, the compact remains in full force and effect for the other party states and in full force and effect for the party state affected for all severable matters.

(c)  If the party states need to settle a dispute under the compact the party states may submit the issues in dispute to an arbitration panel comprised of:

(A)  an individual appointed by the compact administrator in the home state;

(B)  an individual appointed by the compact administrator in each remote state involved; and

(C)  an individual mutually agreed upon by the compact administrators of each party state involved in the dispute.

(d)  The decision of a majority of the arbitrators shall be final and binding.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.130(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section 304.002.  Administration Of Compact.

The executive director of the Texas Board of Nursing is the Nurse Licensure Compact administrator for this state.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.130(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 553, Sec. 2.022, eff. Feb. 1, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 889, Sec. 39, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 304.003.  Rules.

The Texas Board of Nursing may adopt rules necessary to implement this chapter.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.130(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 553, Sec. 2.023, eff. Feb. 1, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 889, Sec. 39, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  304.004.  General Provisions.

(a) The terms "nurse," "registered nurse," and "vocational nurse" include nurses licensed as registered nurses or vocational nurses by a state that is a party to the Nurse Licensure Compact.

(b)  Unless the context indicates otherwise or doing so would be inconsistent with the Nurse Licensure Compact, nurses practicing in this state under a license issued by a state that is a party to the Nurse Licensure Compact have the same rights and obligations as imposed by the laws of this state on license holders of the Texas Board of Nursing.

(c)  The Texas Board of Nursing has the authority to determine whether a right or obligation imposed on license holders applies to nurses practicing in this state under a license issued by a state that is a party to the Nurse Licensure Compact unless that determination is inconsistent with the Nurse Licensure Compact.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.130(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 553, Sec. 2.024, eff. Feb. 1, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 889, Sec. 40, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 304.005.  Enforcement.

The Texas Board of Nursing is the state agency responsible for taking action against registered and vocational nurses practicing in this state under a license issued by a state that is a party to the Nurse Licensure Compact as authorized by the Nurse Licensure Compact.  The action shall be taken in accordance with the same procedures for taking action against registered and vocational nurses licensed by this state.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.130(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 553, Sec. 2.025, eff. Feb. 1, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 889, Sec. 41, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  304.006.  Information Maintained Under Compact.

(a) On request and payment of a reasonable fee, the Texas Board of Nursing shall provide a registered or vocational nurse licensed by this state with a copy of information regarding the nurse maintained by the coordinated licensure information system under Article 7 of the Nurse Licensure Compact.

(b)  A board is not obligated to provide information not available to the board or information that is not available to the nurse under the laws of the state contributing the information to the coordinated licensure information system.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.130(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 553, Sec. 2.026, eff. Feb. 1, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 889, Sec. 42, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 304.007.  Access To Practice-related Information.

Practice-related information provided by the Texas Board of Nursing to registered or vocational nurses licensed by this state shall be made available by the board on request and at a reasonable cost to nurses practicing in this state under a license issued by a state that is a party to the Nurse Licensure Compact.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.130(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 553, Sec. 2.027, eff. Feb. 1, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 889, Sec. 43, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  304.008.  Disclosure Of Personal Information.

(a) In reporting information to the coordinated licensure information system under Article 7 of the Nurse Licensure Compact, the Texas Board of Nursing may disclose personally identifiable information about the nurse, including social security number.

(b)  The coordinated licensure information system may not share personally identifiable information with a state not a party to the compact unless the state agrees not to disclose that information to other persons.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.130(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 553, Sec. 2.028, eff. Feb. 1, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 889, Sec. 44, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  304.009.  Withdrawal From Compact.

(a) The governor may withdraw this state from the Nurse Licensure Compact if the Texas Board of Nursing notifies the governor that a state that is party to the compact changed, after January 1, 1999, the state's requirements for licensing a nurse and that the state's requirements, as changed, are substantially lower than the requirements for licensing a nurse in this state.

(b)  The governor may completely withdraw this state from the Nurse Licensure Compact or may limit withdrawal to the application of the compact to registered nurses or vocational nurses.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.130(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 553, Sec. 2.029, eff. Feb. 1, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 889, Sec. 45, eff. September 1, 2007.


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