In an effort to meet the increased demand for health care professionals during the current state of emergency and public health emergency, on May 5, 2020, pursuant to DCA Administrative Order No. 2020-05 and DCA Waiver No. W-2020-09, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs announced its Emergency Graduate Licensure Program, established pursuant to a new law signed by Governor Murphy on April 14, 2020 (For an overview of this new law please see our prior blog post; and for a detailed analysis of this law please see our prior Health Law Alert).

The new Emergency Graduate Licensure Program was established to grant temporary emergency licenses to recent graduates of nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy, and respiratory care therapy programs who have not yet been able to take and pass their licensing exams. For these groups of health care graduates, eligibility is limited to those who graduated within the last six months from accredited education and training programs located in New Jersey (except for respiratory care therapy programs, which can be located in any state). Additionally, the Division of Consumer Affairs is waiving fee submission and criminal history background check requirements for all four groups of health care graduates.  Those licensed under the Emergency Graduate Licensure Program will be required to sit for an examination within 90 days of the date their respective examinations become readily available to be taken.

This new program coincides with the other similar orders, guidance and initiatives issued by New Jersey in the recent weeks. As previously detailed on this blog, New Jersey has already issued orders and guidance waiving certain regulatory provisions permitting temporary out-of-state licensure for physicians and many other health care practitioners in light of the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic through reciprocity. The applicable boards have temporarily waived criminal history background check and fee for licensure requirements, among other requirements. More information regarding the Temporary Emergency License for Out-of-State Practitioners can be found here.

Additionally, New Jersey has authorized retired health care professionals, whose licenses have been inactive for five years or less, to immediately reactivate their professional license temporarily on an emergency basis, waiving all fees and most requirements.  More information regarding New Jersey’s Retiree Re-Activation initiative can be found here.

A complete overview of all the actions and initiatives relaxing New Jersey’s licensing and regulatory requirements applicable to health care practitioners can be found on the COVID-19 Resources page of the Division of Consumer Affairs Office.

If you have any questions regarding these licensure programs, please do not hesitate to contact us. For any health care practitioners in need of assistance or guidance understanding and complying with the various Covid-19 licensure programs and procedures in New Jersey or any other jurisdictions, the Firm continues to offer pro bono representation as part of its Pro Bono Initiative for Health Care Personnel.