Pa. To Enable Retired Health Care Professionals to Assist With COVID-19 Response

Last Updated: Apr 9, 2020

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

Generally, certain administrative requirements such as completing continuing education (CE) credits and submitting reactivation fees must be fulfilled before a license can be reactivated. More information on how these requirements have been suspended is provided below. 

Note that these suspensions do not waive any requirements to maintain professional liability insurance. PAMED has called for medical liability relief during the COVID-19 pandemic - Find out more here.

Additionally, it is recommended that physicians who apply for license reactivation also register for SERVPA, Pennsylvania's online registry for medical and non-medical volunteers. Register at serv.pa.gov.

Get details on the changes for retired health care professionals below.

State Board of Medicine

Licensees, under the purview of the Medical Board, who have been in active-retired status for less than four years can apply for reactivation of their license. Their CE requirements and license reactivation fees will be suspended. This measure allows these practitioners’ licenses to return to active unrestricted status 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.

Additionally, Doctors of Allopathic Medicine (MDs) and certain allied health professionals whose licenses have been expired/inactive for less than four years, may apply for reactivation of their licenses. Their CE requirements and license reactivation fees will also be suspended.  This measure allows retired/inactive MDs, physician assistants, respiratory therapists and perfusionists to become active until December 31, 2020.

Find reactivation applications here.

State Board of Osteopathic Medicine

Licensees, under the purview of the Osteopathic Board, who have been 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.  Such licensees will return to active unrestricted status 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 whose licenses have been expired/inactive for less than four years, can also apply for reactivation of their licenses. Again, 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. 

Find reactivation applications here.

PAMED Advocacy

Last week, the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) sent a letter to Governor Wolf outlining key issues and potential solutions concerning how to address the COVID-19 emergency. Among these potential solutions was enabling active-retired physicians to assist with the COVID-19 response.

We applaud Gov. Wolf and Sectary Levine for listening to PAMED’s request to remove barriers for physicians with retired/inactive licenses to temporarily return to active status and help with the expected surge of COVID-19 patients.

Additional Information

To access the full announcement by BPOA outlining these suspensions as well as suspensions related to other health care practitioners, please click here.

Due to the COVID-19 emergency, additional statutory and regulatory suspensions are expected to be forth coming, the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) will continue to provide updates as these suspensions are announced.

PAMED has established a COVID-19 resource page where you will find additional information and resources on the COVID-19 outbreak.

6 comments

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  1. Nicholas Scharff | Apr 11, 2020
    This would allow retired physicians to volunteer  - no requirement for malpractice insurance - or to work for an agency that provides insurance such as the state or county correctional system.  Volunteers, however, do not appear presently to be needed.
  2. Charles Defrancesco | Apr 07, 2020
    Agree, malpractice insurance requirement will limit any recruitment issues
  3. Anthony Delconte | Mar 30, 2020
    I agree that adding professional liability exposure on top of the serious health and economic risk will impair the ability to make any recruitment program successful.  
  4. Pennsylvania Medical Society | Mar 27, 2020

    Thank you for your comments. PAMED released this media statement today calling for medical liability relief during the COVID-19 emergency: 

     

    https://www.pamedsoc.org/detail/article/medical-liability-covid19

  5. Stephen Krebs | Mar 26, 2020
    I agree that the malpractice insurance issue is a limiting factor in bringing back retired physicians.
  6. Richard Charney | Mar 25, 2020
    Malpractice insurance or immunity needs to be addressed in order to facilitate recruitment of retired physicians.

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