The Ponca Tribe is suing Nebraska health officials and the state attorney general for ignoring a new provision in the federal health overhaul law that allows tribes to hire doctors not licensed by the state in which they practice.
Doctor Rosa Huguet is licensed in Puerto Rico.
Before enactment of the federal health care law, tribal doctors had to be licensed by the state within whose boundaries they would practice. The new law allows tribal doctors simply to hold a license in any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory, according to the lawsuit.
Tribal officials brought the lawsuit after learning that the state health agency’s Board of Medicine and Surgery had referred the matter to the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, seeking to prevent her from practicing in the state. The lawsuit asks for a temporary restraining order to keep the state from taking any action against them or Huguet regarding her medical license and a judgment stating that Huguet’s Puerto Rico medical license is sufficient to meet the licensing standard under federal law.