State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, will take a step up in the House of Representatives hierarchy when the new session begins next month.
Mr. Readshaw has been named by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, as Democratic chairman of the House Professional Licensure Committee.
The Carrick legislator has served as a member on the panel for several terms. He said while the committee doesn't generate much controversy or big headlines, it still impacts every Pennsylvanian.
"Virtually every profession that requires a certification falls under the jurisdiction of the Professional Licensure Committee," Mr. Readshaw said. "From a barber or hairstylist on up to a brain surgeon, the committee reviews the standards that, once legislation is enacted, must be followed by every licensing board in setting training and operational standards for their profession."
Rep. Readshaw said the upheaval in the state's health care system has dominated much of the committee's activities in recent years.
"There's a trend to expand the situations in which a medical professional, such as a nurse or nurse-practitioner can apply their skills," Rep. Readshaw said. "This is reflected in the expansion of flu shot and screening clinics at pharmacies. There is also business related to proposals for allowing nurse-practitioners to intercept patients in emergency rooms who can be treated for a relatively minor emergency without tying up the hard-pressed. This sort of legislation can dramatically reduce treatment costs for insurance providers or for patients who pay the full charge out of their wallets."
Mr. Readshaw said the panel can also learn from problems that surface in a licensed profession in other states, investigate whether Pennsylvania is also vulnerable, and, if necessary, propose corrective measures.