Department of Consumer Affairs Extends series of Licensing Waivers Pertaining to the Medical Board of California During State of Emergency

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By Ellen Williams

On August 27, 2020, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Director, Kimberly Kirchmeyer, issued two orders extending the deadlines for licensing waivers issued as a result of Governor Newsom’s March 30, 2020, State of Emergency proclamation in California, and the corresponding Executive Order N-39-20, issued as a result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. [25:2 CRLR 35].

First, DCA-20-50 extends the deadline from June 30 to October 31, 2020, for all medical residents who were enrolled in an approved postgraduate training program in California as of January 1, 2020, to obtain a postgraduate training license from the Medical Board of California (MBC).  The order clarifies that medical residents must still complete all other postgraduate training requirements during the extension period, including completing all applications and submitting supporting forms to MBC.  If a resident physician does not obtain a license by October 31, 2020 (unless further extended), or the Board denies the application, the resident must stop all clinical training in California. This temporary waiver does not extend the time a resident can practice medicine in a postgraduate training program beyond the 39-month licensing exemption in the Business and Professions Code sections 2064.5, subdivision (b), and 2065, subdivision (d).

Second, DCA-20-53 temporarily waives, for physicians and surgeons whose active licenses expire between March 31, 2020 and October 31, 2020, any statutory or regulatory requirement that they take and pass an examination in order to renew a medical license, and any requirement that they demonstrate compliance with any continuing education requirements in order to renew a license. The order clarifies that the waiver does not apply to continuing education, training, or examinations required pursuant to a disciplinary order against a license. Licensees must satisfy any waived renewal requirements within six months of the order unless further extended.

Subsequently, on September 17, 2020, Ms. Kirchmeyer issued DCA-20-57, which temporarily waives statutory and regulatory requirements to allow physicians and surgeons who have recently retired, suspended, or surrendered their licenses within the past five years to voluntarily return to practice without meeting additional requirements that would typically be necessary to reinstate their license, including continuing education requirements, and licensing fees. The waiver does not apply to any license that was surrendered or revoked following disciplinary action or any individual who retired, inactivated, or canceled their license following a disciplinary proceeding. A license reactivated or restored pursuant to this waiver is valid until January 1, 2021, or when the State of Emergency ends, whichever is sooner. Individuals reactivating their licenses under this exemption must still comply with any other reactivation or restoration requirements, including submitting required forms or written notices to MBC to reactivate or restore the license.  Those interested in renewing their license and joining the fight against COVID-19 may apply with California Health Corps.

Finally, on September 30, DCA issued DCA-20-65, which extends the deadline to December 31, 2020, for individuals who completed at least 36 months of approved postgraduate training outside of California, were enrolled in an approved postgraduate training program in California on July 1, 2020, and who are required to obtain a physician’s and surgeon’s license from the Medical Board of California within 90 days to continue the practice of medicine, pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 2065, subdivision (h).  If the individual fails to obtain a license on or before December 31, 2020, or the Board denies the application, the individual must cease all clinical training in California until a physician and surgeon license is issued.

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