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Important Information Regarding Physician Licensure Issued During the Public Health Emergency

The Board has established processes to expedite requests to meet healthcare needs during the Public Health Emergency.

Emergency Temporary Licenses To Expire September 30, 2023 With No Extension

During the pandemic, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine (Board) issued emergency temporary licenses under special authority due to the public health emergency.  As the public health emergency has ended, the emergency temporary licenses will expire on September 30, 2023.  There will be no further extensions.

Physicians who hold an emergency temporary license have an opportunity to convert the emergency temporary license into a full license to practice in Massachusetts.  The Board must receive an application for a full license and application fee from the physician on or before September 30, 2023.  Physicians who submit their application by this deadline will be given a grace period in which they may continue to practice after the September 30, 2023 date until the Board completes its review of the full license application. Physicians who do not submit an application for a full license by this deadline will not be authorized to treat patients in Massachusetts beginning October 1, 2023.

The Board recognizes the value of the care and treatment provided by physicians who obtained an emergency temporary license for Massachusetts patients during the pandemic.  The Board believes that it is patients’ best interest to maintain continuity of care.   For this reason, the Board offers a streamlined process for physicians who already hold an emergency temporary license to encourage conversion to a full license.  There are, however, some aspects to conversion that the Board does not have authority to alter which physicians seeking to convert may find helpful to their decision on whether to apply for a full license.

Massachusetts License Fees and Cycles.  The Massachusetts full physician license fees and license cycles are set in Massachusetts state law.  The fee to apply for an initial full license is $600 and the fee to renew a full license is also $600.  Massachusetts full physician licenses expire on the physician’s birthday.  Licenses may be renewed within the 90 day window preceding the expiration date.  For the first cycle, the license expires on the first birthday after the issue date; however, if the first birthday falls within 90 days after the issue date, the license will expire on the next birthday.  Thereafter, the license will expire every two years on the birthday.

Table of renewal dates based on birthday

Medicare Telehealth Flexibilities.  Physicians who are providing telehealth services to Medicare patients Massachusetts from another state should be aware that some of the Medicare telehealth flexibilities that were put in place during the COVID-19 public health emergency are currently set to expire on December 31, 2024.  These are:

  • FQHCs and RHCs can serve as a distant site provider for non-behavioral/mental telehealth services
  • Medicare patients can receive telehealth services in their home
  • There are no geographic restrictions for originating site for non-behavioral/mental telehealth services
  • Some non-behavioral/mental telehealth services can be delivered using audio-only communication platforms
  • An in-person visit within six months of an initial behavioral/mental telehealth service, and annually thereafter, is not required
  • Telehealth services can be provided by all eligible Medicare providers

More information about the Medicare Telehealth Flexibilities is available online at https://telehealth.hhs.gov/providers/telehealth-policy/policy-changes-after-the-covid-19-public-health-emergency.    

For questions about Board licensure, please contact us at 781-876-8230.

Finally, the Board would like to take this opportunity to thank all physicians holding an emergency temporary license for answering the call to treat patients.

Additional Resources

Emergency Temporary Licenses for Full License Applicants

In order to ensure an adequate supply of physicians to staff hospitals, and to eliminate any administrative delays for physicians who qualify for licensure during this crisis, the Board of Registration in Medicine issued Interim Policy on Emergency Temporary Licenses for Full License Applicants 2020-09.  Pursuant to Policy 2020-09, eligible physicians will be issued an Emergency Temporary License while the Board processes the physician’s Full application.  A request for an Emergency Temporary License must be made by a Massachusetts healthcare facility to either the Executive Director or the Director of Licensing. This policy expires on September 30, 2023.  Please contact the Board of Registration in Medicine at 781-876-8230 should you have any questions.

Additional Resources

Expedited Application Request from Health Care Facilities

With the Governor declaring a State of Emergency on March 11, the Board of Registration in Medicine is processing licenses to prioritize emergency needs of healthcare institutions and organizations.  If you are a healthcare institution or organization and seek an expedited request of an application, please contact: emergency.medical.license@mass.gov.

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