The Board of Certification of Health Officers ("the Board") voted at its meeting on September 20, 2011, to adopt the following Policy Guideline. This policy guideline is intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow.  The guideline set forth below does not have the full force and effect of law, as would a Massachusetts General Law or a Board rule or regulation. However, the Board uses policy guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions relating to the certification of health officers.

Policy No. 11-01

Purpose The purpose of this policy statement is to clarify the requirements for reinstatement of a lapsed certification as a health officer.   

Policy:    If a Certified Health Officer allows his/her certification to lapse, and submits an application for renewal within three years from the date of its expiration, said person may obtain renewal of his or her certification by submitting the renewal application, together with the required evidence of continuing education for the current renewal period and each missed renewal period, the appropriate fee for the current renewal period and all missed renewal periods, and any late fee,  as may be established by the Secretary of Administration and Finance, to the Board.

If a Certified Health Officer allows his or her certification to lapse and does not submit an application for renewal within three years from the date of its expiration, he or she shall be treated as though he or she was applying for initial certification and shall be required to take and pass the examination for initial certification and pay all applicable fees.

Discussion General Laws c. 112, § 87XXX authorizes the Board to issue a certification to practice as a health officer to applicants who meet the minimum qualifications established by the Board.  The statute states that such certifications shall expire at the end of the calendar year and may be renewed on or before January 15th of the following year, provided the applicant applies for and meets the requirements for renewal.  The statute is silent as to whether a certification to practice as a health officer may be reinstated after the expiration date has passed or whether the holder of such expired certification must apply for a new certification and meet all the requirements for initial licensure. 

The Board is responsible for establishing and enforcing the minimum qualifications for certification as a health officer.  Pursuant to this authority, the Board has determined that health officer certifications may be reinstated within three years from the date of expiration, provided the holder of said certificate submits a renewal application, together with the required evidence of continuing education for the current renewal period and each missed renewal period, the appropriate fee for the current renewal period and all missed renewal periods and any late fee. 

The Board has determined that an individual, who was once issued a certification as a health officer in Massachusetts, but who has not held a valid certification for a period of three years or more must have his/her current qualifications evaluated to ensure that he or she currently meets the minimum qualifications to practice as a certified health officer.  Accordingly, an individual whose certification has expired for three years or more, will be treated as an applicant for initial licensure and be required to take and pass the examination for initial certification and pay all applicable fees.