At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs established a Temporary Emergency Reciprocity License (TERL) program to give emergency licenses to healthcare practitioners from states outside of New Jersey. The TERL program had been extended multiple times and was set to expire on January 11, 2022.
However, on January 11, Gov. Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 280, which reinstated a Public Health Emergency related to COVID-19 in the State of New Jersey. The state’s first Public Health Emergency ended in June 2021 (though the “State of Emergency” has remained in effect). In the new Executive Order, Gov. Murphy declared that “all State agencies are authorized to take appropriate steps to address the public health hazard of COVID-19, including any and all variants of this virus, including increasing access and eliminating barriers to medical care.”
In connection with the Executive Order, all “Group 2” Temporary Licenses issued to healthcare professionals have been extended and will remain effective until further notice, allowing qualified out-of-state providers to continue engaging patients either in person or using telehealth. Group 2 includes physicians, nurses, home health aides, behavioral health providers, and other types of professionals.
Interestingly, the new telehealth bill signed into law by Gov. Murphy on December 21, 2021 takes a very strict stance on interstate telehealth. It provides that any healthcare provider who engages in telehealth must be validly licensed, certified or registered pursuant to Title 45 of the New Jersey Statutes. Thus, healthcare providers who are relying on a Temporary License must be aware of related developments and should take appropriate steps to avoid any continuity-of-care issues once the TERL program ends.
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