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News Guidance for Licensing Changes Following Termination of the State of Emergency

7/01/2021
  • Board of Registration in Nursing
  • Board of Registration of Nursing Home Administrators
  • Board of Registration of Physician Assistants
  • Board of Registration of Perfusionists
  • Board of Registration of Genetic Counselors
  • Board of Certification of Community Health Workers

       LICENSING CHANGES FOLLOWING TERMINATION OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY

The State of Emergency relative to COVID-19 terminated on June 15, 2021.  This Guidance addresses the status of licenses granted pursuant to emergency orders.  Specifically, this Guidance addresses the extension of license expiration dates[1] and temporary licenses[2].  

  1. Terms and Applicability

For purposes of this guidance, the terms below are defined as follows:

  • The term “license” includes a license, registration, certificate or authorization.
  • The term “in good standing” means a license that is current and that may be subject to probation or non-disciplinary conditions but shall not include a license that is revoked, cancelled, surrendered, suspended or subject to disciplinary restrictions.
  • The term “health care providers” includes the following:  registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nursing home administrators, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, perfusionists, genetic counselors, and community health workers.

Part II of this guidance applies to all license types issued by Boards of Registration within the Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Health Profession’s Licensure.

Parts III through V of this guidance applies to health care providers, as that term is defined above. 

This guidance is effective immediately.

  1. Extension of License Expiration

Any license that was extended beyond its original expiration date during the State of Emergency will remain active until its expiration on September 15, 2021. To ensure continued authorization from the Commonwealth to practice, licensees should submit a complete application for a full license no later than August 1, 2021 to allow for processing and issuance of a full license by September 15, 2021.  Note, issuance of a full license by September 15, 2021 cannot be guaranteed if an incomplete application is submitted and/or if the application requires additional review and processing. 

  1. Renewal of Previously Expired Licenses

Any expired license that was temporarily renewed or reactivated during the State of Emergency will remain active until its expiration on September 15, 2021.  In order to practice beyond September 15, a temporary licensee must apply for and receive a full license.  To ensure continued authorization from the Commonwealth to practice, temporary licensees should submit a complete application for a full license no later than August 1, 2021 to allow for processing and issuance of a full license by September 15, 2021.  Note, issuance of a full license by September 15, 2021 cannot be guaranteed if an incomplete application is submitted and/or if the application requires additional review and processing. 

If a licensure applicant did not receive a temporary license on or before June 14, 2021, that individual must apply for permanent licensure and receive such a permanent license in order to practice in the Commonwealth. 

  1. Emergency reciprocity licensure

Any temporary license issued to a health care provider licensed in another state during the State of Emergency will remain active until its expiration on September 15, 2021.  In order to practice beyond September 15, a temporary licensee must apply for and receive a full license.  To ensure continued authorization from the Commonwealth to practice, temporary licensees should submit a complete application for a full license no later than August 1, 2021 to allow for processing and issuance of a full license by September 15, 2021.  Note, issuance of a full license by September 15, 2021 cannot be guaranteed if an incomplete application is submitted and/or if the application requires additional review and processing. 

If a licensure applicant has not received a temporary license on or before June 14, 2021, that individual must apply for permanent licensure and receive such a permanent license in order to practice in the Commonwealth. 

  1. Telemedicine

The Boards of Registration within the Department of Public Health shall refrain from taking disciplinary action or other enforcement action solely upon the basis of providing telemedicine services to a patient in Massachusetts provided that the person providing such telemedicine services holds a valid Massachusetts license at the time the service is provided, including a license issued in accordance with these provisions.

In addition, the Board of Registration in Nursing shall refrain from taking any disciplinary action solely upon the basis of providing telemedicine services against the license of a nurse who provides care to an established patient who is a student enrolled in a college or university located in Massachusetts during the 2019-2020 academic year upon the student’s return to his or her home state.  If the student’s home state is a state other than Massachusetts, nurses who provide such continued care are nevertheless advised to contact the applicable licensing board in the state in which the patient/client/student is at the time of service to determine whether or not such practice is permitted in that jurisdiction.

The exceptions for telemedicine authorized during the State of Emergency will expire on September 15, 2021. 

[1] Please see COVID-19 Order No. 41 and Notice issued by Department of Public Health, Bureau Health Professions Licensure on December 21, 2020:  https://www.mass.gov/doc/signed-rescission-and-childcare-reopen-order-41/download; https://www.mass.gov/doc/signed-rescission-and-childcare-reopen-order-41/download

[2] Please see Commissioner’s June 14, 2021 Rescission of Order of the Commissioner of Public Health Maximizing Health Care Provider Availability:  https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-public-health-emergency

Guidance for Licensing Changes Following Termination of the State of Emergency

Board of Registration in Nursing 

Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing (Board) protects the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth through the fair and consistent application of the statutes and regulations that govern nursing practice and nursing education.

Board of Registration of Nursing Home Administrators 

We work to protect the health and safety of nursing home residents. We ensure that nursing home administrators are competent and perform their responsibilities properly.

Board of Registration of Physician Assistants 

We evaluate the qualifications of applicants for physician assistant licensure, and grant licenses to those who qualify. We also establish rules and regulations to ensure the integrity and competence of licensees.

Board of Registration of Perfusionists 

We evaluate the qualifications of applicants for perfusionist licensure, and grant licenses to those who qualify. We also establish rules and regulations to ensure the integrity and competence of licensees.

Board of Registration of Genetic Counselors 

We evaluate the qualifications of applicants for genetic counselor licensure, and grant licenses to those who qualify. We also establish rules and regulations to ensure the integrity and competence of licensees.

Board of Certification of Community Health Workers 

We help integrate community health workers into the health care and public health systems. We work to promote health equity, cost containment, quality improvement, and management and prevention of chronic disease.
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