Pennsylvania is relaxing some medical licensing rules to allow retired doctors to rejoin the workforce as the number of novel coronavirus infections in the state continues to tick upward by the day, threatening to overwhelm the health system.
Under the new guidance, retired doctors in good standing whose licenses have been expired for less than four years can apply to have them reactivated, the Pennsylvania Department of State said in a news release. The state medical board is also waiving continuing education and reactivation fees.
The reactivated licenses will be unrestricted through Dec. 31, 2020, for medical doctors, physician assistants, respiratory therapists and perfusionists. Doctors of osteopathic medicine, meanwhile, will have their licenses reactivated until Oct. 31, 2020.
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“This action will allow people with inactive or retired licenses in good standing to reactivate their licenses and immediately lend their assistance in this challenging time. We thank these retirees for their willingness to serve,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said in a statement.
The move follows previous easing of rules for registered nurses, as well as the state allowing out-of-state health care professionals to treat Pennsylvanians via telemedicine during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
In Pennsylvania, at least 1,212 confirmed cases of coronavirus had been reported as of Wednesday afternoon, with 11 deaths.
Officials have repeatedly warned that the number of infections is expected to rise, with the potential of overwhelming the health system.