New research published in Health Affairs, co-authored by Prof. Joel C. Cantor, evaluated the March 2020 initiative, formally known as the COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Reciprocity Licensure program. This innovative program allowed more than 30,000 health care workers from every U.S. state to treat residents either in person or on a virtual basis. The initiative, conceived when New Jersey emerged as one of the nation’s first pandemic hot spots, was one of the first of its kind in the nation.
The researchers analyzed more than 10,000 survey responses and found that practitioners who used the temporary license originated from every state in the US, provided both COVID-19- and non-COVID-19-related care, served a combination of new and existing patients, conversed with patients in at least thirty-six languages, and primarily used telehealth. Findings suggest that temporary licensure of out-of-state practitioners, along with telehealth waivers, may be a valuable, short-term solution to mitigating health care workforce shortages during public health emergencies.