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Pennsylvania Extends State Board of Medicine Renewal Deadline, Continues License Reactivations for Retired Professionals and Extends Expiration Date of Temporary Licenses Issued to Out-of-State Healthcare Practitioners

December 21, 2020

The State Board of Medicine oversees the licensure of nearly 82,000 individuals in 17 different healthcare professions. All licenses issued by the Board are subject to biennial renewal, meaning that they expire every two years (on December 31 of each even-numbered year) unless the license holder applies to renew prior to that date.

The next renewal deadline for all Board of Medicine licensees is December 31, 2020. A licensee's failure to renew will result in the expiration of his or her license and, with it, the ability to continue practicing legally. This potential expiration of licenses comes at a critical time; the Commonwealth needs every licensed practitioner available to assist in COVID-19 response efforts.

To ensure that these practitioners are acting under valid, active licenses, the Department of State requested, and the Governor approved, a 90-day extension of the Dec. 31, 2020, renewal deadline for licensees under the State Board of Medicine.  These licenses will remain in "active" status on the Department's website until March 31, 2021.

Additionally, emergency temporary licenses granted to licensed practitioners in other states and jurisdictions have been extended. These licenses became available as a result of a waiver issued March 18, 2020, enabling out-of-state practitioners to practice within the Commonwealth during the declared state of emergency. All emergency temporary licenses issued pursuant to that waiver were assigned an expiration date of December 31, 2020.

To retain as many of these practitioners as possible during the declared state of emergency, the Governor has approved the Department's request to extend the current December 31 expiration date for emergency temporary licenses to June 30, 2021. If an individual already holds an emergency temporary license but is unable to meet all requirements for full licensure by December 31, 2020, that individual may continue to practice in Pennsylvania after December 31, 2020, until the next expiration date of June 30, 2021.

It should be noted, however, that the new expiration date of June 30, 2021, will not be further extended. Any new out-of-state applicants who apply for and meet the requirements for an emergency temporary license will be issued a license bearing that same expiration date, June 30, 2021. All individuals with emergency temporary licenses who wish to continue practicing in Pennsylvania after June 30, 2021, will have to submit an application for a full, unrestricted license and meet all license requirements prior to that date. Interested out-of-state emergency temporary license holders are advised to begin the full licensure process as soon as possible, and well in advance of the June 30, 2021, deadline.

Finally, an extension has been approved for reactivated Board of Medicine licenses granted on an expedited basis to retired and inactive Pennsylvania-licensed practitioners. Previous expedited reactivation waivers issued by the Department on March 20, March 25, March 30 and April 7, 2020, established a means for Pennsylvania healthcare practitioners whose Board of Medicine licenses (i) are in "active/retired" status, or (ii) were placed on inactive status by licensee request, or (iii) have otherwise lapsed/expired, to quickly and easily reactivate their licenses.

To allow retired/inactive Pennsylvania practitioners who have reactivated, or wish to reactivate, their Board of Medicine license to assist in the pandemic, the Department requested, and the Governor approved, an extension of the previous reactivation waivers. If an individual has already reactivated their license pursuant to the prior reactivation waivers but is unable to meet the requirements for renewal prior to the deadline, that individual may continue to practice after December 31, 2020, and must renew the license by the extended deadline of March 31, 2021.

For eligible individuals who have not yet reactivated their licenses but want to assist during the pandemic, the processing of expedited license reactivations will resume after December 21, 2020, for Board of Medicine practitioners whose license is either "active/retired" or "inactive/expired" for at least three months but no more than four years. These individuals will receive a license with an expiration date of December 31, 2022; however, it will be the responsibility of the licensee to complete any required continuing education by June 30, 2021. Forms for expedited reactivation and additional instructions may be found on the Board's website.