Last Updated: Dec 22, 2020
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 Dec. 31, 2020.
On Dec. 21, 2020, the State Board of Medicine extended the reactivation waivers and expiration deadlines for MD licensees. If an individual has already reactivated their license pursuant to the prior reactivation waivers but is unable to meet the requirements for renewal prior to the deadline, that individual may continue to practice after Dec. 31, 2020, and must renew the license by the extended deadline of March 31, 2021.
For eligible individuals who have not yet reactivated their licenses but want to assist during the pandemic, the processing of expedited license reactivations will resume after Dec. 21, 2020, for Board of Medicine practitioners whose license is either "active/retired" or "inactive/expired" for at least three months but no more than four years. These individuals will receive a license with an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2022; however, it will be the responsibility of the licensee to complete any required continuing education by June 30, 2021.
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 Oct. 31, 2020.
Find reactivation applications here.
On March 19, 2020, 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.
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.