WSR 20-09-008
[Filed April 2, 2020, 1:50 p.m.]
I. INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE: The Washington state department of health (department) is extending all health profession license expiration dates to September 30, 2020, for those individuals whose license is subject to renew between April 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020. This applies to all health profession licenses under RCW 18.130.040.
The COVID-19 pandemic is taking an economic toll on small businesses. These include certain health professions such as dental hygienists, hearing aid specialists, massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and others that are not able to work at this time in compliance with Governor Jay Inslee's Proclamation to "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" (Proclamation 20-25).
Other health professions such as emergency medical technicians, physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and others are working intensively to care for those who are ill. These healthcare workers need to keep their focus on patient care during this emergency.
Approximately two hundred fifteen thousand individuals will have their health profession licenses expire over the next six months. These individuals will receive automated renewal notices and must pay the required fee to maintain licensure. If they let their license lapse, they will have to pay additional fees to have it reinstated.
This extension will allow healthcare workers to focus on patient care and promote continued patient safety during the COVID-19 outbreak. Because renewal payment will not be required until September 30, 2020, it will also reduce the economic burden on those individuals not able to work during this emergency.
II. AUTHORITY: Washington law allows the secretary of health to extend the duration of any license, certification, or registration period if the secretary determines that it would result in a more economical or efficient operation of state government and that the public health, safety, or welfare would not be substantially adversely affected thereby. The secretary of health has the authority under RCW 43.70.280(2) to grant license extensions for health professions. Governor's Proclamation 20-32 provides authority for action without agency rule making.
III. SCOPE AND DURATION: This extension applies to renewals of licenses for all health professions licensed under Title 18 RCW. The expiration extension is not a waiver, and fees must still be paid by September 30, 2020, for individuals to maintain their health profession license. The extension applies to any health care license subject to renewal between April 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020, and requires renewal of such license by September 30, 2020.
IV. EXTENSION OF RENEWALS OF LICENSES FOR ALL HEALHT [HEALTH] PROFESSIONS: The secretary of health extends the renewal dates of all health profession licenses issued under RCW 18.130.040 up for renewal between April 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020, and requires renewal by September 30, 2020.
V. Signature
Dated: April 2, 2020.
John Wiesman, DrPH, MPH