When the pandemic exacerbated the state’s shortage of health care workers, the state made an exception to licensing rules to allow 22,330 providers to quickly receive temporary licenses. Those licenses – which expired May 31 – are now “permanent” with Gov. Chris Sununu’s signature on Senate Bill 277.
Those providers will still have to renew their licenses, which includes confirmation of continuing education compliance and a disciplinary review, when traditional license holders do. For most health care professions, that is two years, said Lindsey Courtney, executive director of the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification.
The number of renewal requests will be interesting, she said, because it’s unclear how many of those license holders came here under a temporary contract, such as a traveling nurse, versus workers who relocated to the state.
Sununu’s signature on SB 277 Friday has allowed Courtney to focus on other immediate and long-term challenges.
June is crunch time for the licensing office, with new graduates seeking licensure and existing license holders requesting theirs be renewed. Some days, staff are answering 900 phone calls, Courtney said. “It’s pretty crazy,” she said.
Courtney has a long-term solution in mind for that.
She’d like to revamp the office’s online licensing system to make it easier for people to identify the licensing documents they need and submit them. Too often, license applications are incomplete, requiring the staff to follow up with phone calls, Courtney said. Applicants are also calling the office repeatedly for the status of their license request.
“We are working on hopefully making changes … so people don’t have to speak with someone to get the information they need,” she said.