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Pennsylvania Temporarily Waives Practical Examination Requirement for Out-of-State Osteopathic Physicians

March 15, 2021

The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States (COMLEX-USA) is a series of three osteopathic medical licensing examinations administered by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME). COMLEX-USA is the most common pathway by which osteopathic physicians (D.Os) apply for medical licensure and is accepted in all 50 states.

Osteopathic physicians licensed prior to 2005 were not required to complete a hands-on practical examination to obtain licensure, as the COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE was not offered at that time.

The State Board of Osteopathic Medicine's current regulations require a D.O. to take and pass a practical examination, which applies to those licensed prior to 2005.

A D.O. licensed by another state prior to 2005 is required to submit to and pass the practical examination in osteopathic diagnosis and manipulative therapy to satisfy the licensure by endorsement requirements of the Commonwealth.

The practical examination is only administered four times per year (once each quarter) in the Commonwealth by a designated professional testing organization.

The State Board of Osteopathic Medicine does not have a temporary licensure pathway for out-of-state practitioners seeking to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic efforts. Instead, the primary means by which out-of-state D.Os apply for licensure to practice in the Commonwealth is through licensure by endorsement.

For these reasons, the Department requested, and the Governor approved, a temporary suspension of the practical examination requirement.

By allowing out-of-state osteopathic physicians who have been practicing for many years to obtain licensure in this Commonwealth without first obtaining a passing score on a practical examination, the Commonwealth will be further opening its clinic doors to qualified physicians who are willing and able to assist in addressing the ongoing pandemic.

A license issued under this waiver will bear the same expiration date as all other D.O. licenses: October 31, 2022.

A D.O who applies for and receives a license by endorsement while this waiver is active will be required to submit to and pass the practical examination as a condition precedent to license renewal.