June 02, 2020

COVID-19 and its Impact on Healthcare Professional Licensure and Telehealth

By Marcus Hughes, Esq., Associate General Counsel, UMass Memorial Health Care, Inc., Worcester, MA

As the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the nation, dramatic steps have been taken to make it easier for physicians and other licensed healthcare professionals to cross state lines and practice in states where they do not hold a license. This temporary suspension of licensing requirements has allowed medical professionals to practice in person and via telemedicine outside their home state to a degree that has not been seen before. Efforts have also been made across the country to recruit recently retired physicians to come back to practice to help communities with the COVID-19 response. These unprecedented steps have been taken because scientific models predict that the United States’ healthcare system could soon face a shortage of medical professionals able to care for the surge in patients suffering from infections of COVID-19.1 These licensing rules overseen by state medical and nursing boards have been temporarily relaxed to ultimately ease access to medical care at a time of crisis. 

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