NEW JERSEY – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced Friday that the Division of Consumer Affairs has created a streamlined process for retired New Jersey healthcare professionals to reactivate their licenses to support the State’s response to COVID-19. The division is now accepting applications from recent retirees seeking to return to practice on a temporary, emergency basis.
The reactivation of retirees is just one of several actions the division is taking to implement an executive order issued by Governor Phil Murphy to remove barriers to healthcare professionals joining the State’s response to the public health emergency.
Murphy’s executive order also supplements the state’s existing health care workforce by authorizing the temporary licensure in New Jersey of certain doctors who are licensed in foreign countries, and temporarily relaxing scope-of-practice restrictions on Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) so they can practice more independently during the current public health emergency.
In another action announced Friday, the Division of Consumer Affairs is paving the way for healthcare professionals from other States to prescribe medications for New Jersey residents, if the prescriber is temporarily licensed in New Jersey as part of the State’s COVID-19 response and is allowed to prescribe elsewhere. These prescribers will no longer need to register with New Jersey to prescribe controlled dangerous substances, and will be allowed to participate in New Jersey’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
The division has granted about 4,000 temporary licenses to out-of-state healthcare professionals in the last two weeks, including to professionals deployed to New Jersey with the National Guard and to professionals who offering telehealth services to New Jersey residents remotely from their home States.
“The New Jersey healthcare professionals serving on the front lines in our fight against COVID-19 are nothing short of heroic. But they need reinforcements,” Grewal said. “We are acting swiftly to support Governor Murphy’s call for all available and qualified healthcare professionals to step up and support the State’s response to this public health emergency.”
“We’re doing everything we can to ensure we have a robust workforce of trained medical professionals to help flatten the curve of infections and save lives,” Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs said. “We will continue to look for ways to expand New Jersey’s pool of qualified medical, nursing and therapy personnel to meet the State’s needs during this nationwide health crisis.”
About 50,000 retired New Jersey healthcare professionals may be eligible for temporary emergency licenses under Murphy’s executive order and the Division’s actions today. Their numbers include over 11,000 physicians, over 900 respiratory care practitioners, tens of thousands of nurses, and thousands of mental health professionals.
Eligible retirees can reactivate their licenses on the Division’s website by completing a simple form. The Division aims to process each application within one day of submission. After reactivating their licenses, retirees are encouraged to visit the Department of Health’s portal for healthcare professionals who are willing and able to support New Jersey’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Only retirees whose licenses have been expired or inactive for five years or less are eligible to reactivate their licenses on a temporary emergency basis. For now, eligibility is also limited to practitioners from some of the fields where reinforcements are most needed:
- Respiratory Care Therapists
- Physician Assistants
- Advanced Practice Nurses
- Registered Professional Nurses
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Marriage and Family Therapists
- Professional Counselors
- Rehabilitation Counselors
- Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselors
- State Certified Psychoanalysts
- Licensed Clinical Social Workers
- Licensed Social Workers
- Certified Social Workers
Other retirees interested in returning to practice to support the State’s COVID-19 can go through the usual reactivation process.
Additional information for retirees interested in returning to practice is available in guidance issued by the Division of Consumer Affairs Friday.
A separate guidance document also issued by the division today clarifies how healthcare professionals can use telehealth to deliver health care to New Jersey residents.
Telehealth is a critical tool for ensuring that the State’s residents can continue to access health care services at a time when they are seeking to minimize in-person contacts in order to avoid spreading COVID-19. Many of the thousands of out-of-State healthcare professionals who recently obtained temporary New Jersey licenses are serving the State’s residents via telehealth.
In addition to reactivating the licenses of retirees and making it easier for healthcare professionals from out-of-State to treat and prescribe medications for New Jersey residents, the Division will soon begin accepting applications for temporary emergency licenses from physicians from abroad who do not meet all of the usual criteria for licensure in New Jersey. To be eligible, foreign physicians must hold a license in good standing to practice medicine in another country, have maintained that license for at least five years, have engaged in the clinical practice of medicine for at least five years, and have practiced clinical medicine within the last five years, among other requirements.
Temporary licenses issued to out-of-State healthcare professionals, reactivated retirees, and foreign physicians may remain active until the end of the COVID-19-related emergency declared by Murphy on March 9, 2020.
The division is also waiving certain regulatory requirements that limit the scope of practice for APNs and PAs. The Division’s waiver complements Murphy’s action to enable these healthcare professionals to work more independently from physicians while the State’s healthcare resources are spread thin in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.