Gov. Wolf Signs License Portability Act

Last Updated: Jul 2, 2019

Licensing-LicenseLegislation sponsored by Rep. David S. Hickernell regarding license portability was signed into law by Governor Wolf on July 1, 2019. Act 41 of 2019 (“the Act”) standardizes an endorsement process for all licensing boards and commissions under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) for the issuing of licenses to applicants who are licensed to practice their profession in another state, territory, or country.

The Act provides that a licensing board shall issue a license, certificate, registration or permit to an applicant to allow practice in Pennsylvania if, upon application to the licensing board, the applicant satisfies all of the following conditions:

  • Holds a current license, certificate, registration or permit from another state, territory or country and the licensing board determines that state’s, territory’s or country’s requirements are substantially equivalent to or exceed the licensing board’s established requirements;
  • Demonstrates competency in the profession through methods determined by the licensing board, including having completed continuing education or having experience in the profession or occupation for at least two of the five years preceding the date of the application;
  • Has not committed any act that would have constituted grounds for refusal, suspension or revocation of a license, unless the licensing board determines, in its discretion, that the act should not be an impediment to the granting of a license;
  • Is in good standing and has not been disciplined by the jurisdiction that issued the license, unless the licensing board determines, in its discretion, that the discipline should not be an impediment to the granting of a license; and
  • Pays any fees established by the licensing board.

Additionally, under the Act, licensing boards may issue a provisional endorsement license to allow the applicant to practice while the applicant is satisfying remaining requirements for licensure. The provisional endorsement license expires if the applicant is denied a license, upon the expiration date of the provisional license, or if the holder of the provisional endorsement license fails to comply with the terms of the provisional license.

The Act will take effect in 60-days. Licensing boards have 18-months from the effective date to promulgate regulations implementing the Act. 

Prior to the passage of Act 41, licensing boards had the statutory authority to provide a pathway to licensure through endorsement. However, there was no statutory requirement that boards must provide such a pathway. Act 41 requires that all boards allow licensure by endorsement.

Note that both the State Board of Medicine, 49 Pa. Code §17.2, and the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, 49 Pa. Code §25.242, already have regulations establishing an endorsement process by which out-of-state physicians may obtain unrestricted licensure in Pennsylvania. These regulations, however, do not provide for the granting of provisional endorsement licenses.

PAMED will continue to monitor the implementation of Act 41 and notify members of any additional developments. PAMED will update members accordingly if any proposed regulations are published by the State Board of Medicine or State Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

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