Pennsylvania to Allow Retired Health Care Professionals to Bolster COVID-19 Response

| March 26, 2020

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania is acting to enable retired health care professionals to assist with the COVID-19 response by waiving certain licensing regulations.

(Nurse Jany Guedes, right, takes a sample for testing from Maria Laso at a drive-through testing site for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Doris Ison Health Center, on Friday, March 20, 2020, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee.)

Previously, the Department of State waived some regulations for nurses, removed barriers for pharmacies to provide services, and announced that in-state and out-of-state health care practitioners can treat patients via telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency.

“Many retired and inactive health care professionals want to help bolster our health care system during this crisis,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “This action will allow people with inactive or retired licenses in good standing to reactivate their licenses and immediately lend their assistance in this challenging time. We thank these retirees for their willingness to serve.”

The Department of State’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) requested, and Governor Wolf granted, suspensions of several regulations related to the state boards of Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy for the duration of the coronavirus emergency. A previous suspension allows for retired nurse-midwife license reactivations.

These new regulation suspensions increase the number of available and qualified health care practitioners in Pennsylvania by allowing retired practitioners to re-enter their field more easily without paying reactivation fees:

  • State Board of Medicine licensees who are in active/retired status for less than four years can apply for reactivation of their license. Their continuing education (CE) requirements and license reactivation fees will be suspended. This measure allows these practitioners’ licenses to become active unrestricted until Dec. 31, 2020. If a licensee wishes to continue practicing beyond Dec. 31, 2020, the licensee will need to renew the active-unrestricted license and meet all current requirements at that time.
  • Medical Doctors (MDs) and certain allied health professionals integral to providing care during this state of emergency, whose licenses are expired/inactive for less than four years, may apply for reactivation of their licenses. Their CE requirements and license reactivation fees will be suspended. This measure allows retired/inactive MDs, physician assistants, respiratory therapists and perfusionists to become active until December 31, 2020.
  • State Board of Osteopathic Medicine licensees who are in active/retired status for less than four years can apply for reactivation of their licenses. Their CE requirements and license reactivation feels will be suspended. This measure allows retired/inactive Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) to become active unrestricted until Oct. 31, 2020. If a licensee wishes to continue practicing beyond that date, the licensee would need to renew the active-unrestricted license and meet all current requirements at that time.
  • DOs and certain allied health professionals integral to providing care during this state of emergency, whose licenses are expired/inactive for less than four years, can apply for reactivation of their licenses. Their CE requirements and license reactivation fees will be suspended. This measure, which applies to retired/inactive DOs, physician assistants, respiratory therapists and perfusionists, allows those individuals to become active until October 31, 2020.
  • Registered Nurses (RNs), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs), and Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNPs) whose licenses are expired/inactive for less than five years can apply for reactivation of their licenses. Their CE requirements and license reactivation fees will be suspended.
  • Pharmacists whose licenses are expired/inactive for less than four years can apply for reactivation of their licenses. Their CE requirements and license reactivation fees will be suspended.

Last week, BPOA announced that in-state and out-of-state health care practitioners can treat patients via telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency.

The Department of State is working with the governor’s office, the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services to identify regulations and requirements that can be suspended to give medical providers and facilities the flexibility they need to respond to COVID-19. The Department of State website will be updated regularly as additional requirement suspension information becomes available.

For all inquiries, please use the email addresses found here: Board Contact Information.


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