COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

General | Continuing Education | Licensing & Registration | Professional Education | Social Work & Mental Health Pofessions | Medicine | Nursing | Pharmacy | Veterinary Medicine

General

  1. What is considered an “essential” position or entity under Executive Order 202.6?

Answer: A list of areas deemed “essential” at this time is available here. Professionals should follow appropriate precautions and ensure social distancing to the greatest extent possible when providing essential services. Additional guidance for health care professionals is available here. There is also guidance available to determine if a business enterprise is subject to workforce reductions here.

  1. Governor Cuomo has asked for volunteers to provide healthcare services. What forms do I need to complete to sign up to volunteer?

Answer: The New York State Department of Health has a form to complete. Please review Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders and the information on this website to determine if you are exempted from NYS licensure and/or registration requirements.

Guidance on COVID-19 related exposure and prevention best practices for health care providers

  1. Where can I find guidance on COVID-19 related exposure and prevention best practices for health care professionals?

For the most up to date guidance on all COVID-19 information relating to health care providers, please continue to check the New York Department of Health “Information for Providers” website and the Centers for Disease Control website.

Continuing Education (CE) Requirements

  1. Are CE requirements being waived? 

Answer: Not at this time.  The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is working closely with other New York State agencies and the Governor’s Office to tackle issues relating to COVID-19. Please continue to monitor the Department’s website for updated guidance. 

  1. Can a licensee complete 100% of the required continuing education through self-study activities offered by approved providers for their profession?

Answer: Some regulations restrict licensees to a certain percentage of self-study for continuing education requirements. In response to the evolving situation with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and for those licensees whose registrations are due to renew March 1-June 1, 2020, the Department will grant an adjustment to all licensees to complete up to 100% of the continuing education as self-study, so long as it is taken from a Department-approved provider for the specific profession and is in an acceptable subject area for the specific profession. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is working closely with other New York State agencies and the Governor’s Office to tackle issues relating to COVID-19. Please continue to monitor the Department’s website for updated guidance.

Professional Licensing and/or Registration Fees

  1. Are Professional Licensing and/or Registration fees being waived? 

Answer: Not at this time.  The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is working closely with other New York State agencies and the Governor’s Office to tackle issues relating to COVID-19. Please continue to monitor the Department’s website for updated guidance. 

  1. If I am a NYS licensee returning to practice to assist in the COVID-19 response efforts, do I need to re-register to practice?

Answer: Currently, pursuant to Executive Orders, NYS licensed physicians, physician’s assistants, registered professional nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners do not need to be registered to practice in the State of New York. All other NYS licensed professionals are required to be currenting registered in order to practice.

  1. If I hold an out-of-state license, and I am not licensed in NYS, can I practice in the State of New York to assist in the COVID-19 response efforts?

Answer: Currently, pursuant to Executive Orders, out-of-state licensed physicians, registered professional nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, and respiratory therapists do not need to hold a NYS license or registration to practice in the State of New York. All other NYS licensed professionals are required to be licensed in the State of New York in order to practice.

  1. Can my educational documents and/or transcripts be submitted electronically?

Answer: The Office of the Professions will accept official electronic transcripts and/or Form 2 Applications from educational institutions (i.e. colleges/universities) or designated third-party transcript entities located in the United States. Instructions and information on the criteria required for these submissions are available on each professions’ Application Forms page, under the Electronic Education Documentation section.

  1. I hold a New York State license, but the registration is currently inactive. How do I reactivate my registration?

Answer: An individual who is licensed in New York State can request a delayed registration application online to reactivate a registration. See our website for more information

Professional Education Program Review

  1. I am a student enrolled in a licensure-qualifying program. I have a question regarding meeting the clinical hour requirements.

Answer: Please first contact your program director regarding this. If there are any challenges, please ask your director to contact us at opprogs@nysed.gov

Social Work and Mental Health Professions

  1. Can a licensee practice the profession by using distance technology?

Answer:  Yes. There are practice alerts and guidelines that address this type of intervention by an individual licensed and registered in New York. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for confidentiality and record-keeping, to the same extent as when providing direct, in-person services.

If you are not licensed in New York, you may not practice a restricted profession by either technology or in-person.

  1. Can a permit holder, intern or other person only authorized to practice under supervision (supervisees) provide client services by distance technology rather than in-person? Is remote supervision allowed?

Answer:  Yes. The supervisor remains responsible for the assessment, evaluation and treatment of each client seen by the supervisee.  Supervised client contact hours completed through distance technology may be submitted on Form 4B, as part of the supervised experience requirement for licensure and do not have to be designated as such.

The Board of Regents approved an emergency regulation that allows supervision by telephone or video technology during the period covered by the Executive Orders relating to the COVID-19 health crisis. The supervisor remains responsible for the assessment, evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of each client seen under supervision. The emergency regulation provides flexibility to the supervisor in regard to the weekly duration and frequency of supervision sessions, during the COVID-19 related State of Emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order 202.

All treatment and supervision provided through distance technology must be completed through secure means, whether on the telephone or through the use of video conferencing. Texting and email are not acceptable forms of supervision at any time, other than to notify the supervisor of an urgent situation that requires intervention.

  1. Can a Department-approved provider of continuing education convert an in-person course or program to a distance or self-study format without prior approval or review?

Answer: Yes. The Department-approved provider may convert all or part of a course or program to live online or self-study format. The provider is responsible for ensuring attendance and participation by the learners, whether through tests or other measures.

  1. If an employment site is closed for an extended period of time, will a limited permit holder be granted extra time to complete the supervised experience?

Answer:   At this time, there are no procedures or processes to cancel limited permits or extend them. The Department is working closely with other New York State agencies and the Governor’s Office to tackle issues relating to COVID-19. Please continue to monitor the Department’s website for updated guidance.

  1. If a student placed in an internship by a license-qualifying program is not able to complete the required hours, how will this be handled?

Answer: The Department will review applications from license-qualifying programs that seek to reduce the duration of the supervised internship to no less than 85% of the 900 hours required in the calendar year 2020 MSW program. This is consistent with the standards from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in other jurisdictions. The MSW program remains responsible for ensuring that students are under the in-person or distance supervision of a LMSW or LCSW, consistent with the services rendered by the student intern. Schools may propose alternative activities in the event the current COVID-19 emergency makes traditional interventions and activities impossible.

Medicine

  1. Can a physician who will graduate in 2020 practice in New York State without licensure or limited permit to assist with the COVID-19 response effort?

Answer: Pursuant to Executive Order 202.14, any physician who will graduate in 2020 can practice at any institution under the supervision of a licensed physician as long as they have:

  • graduated from an academic medical program accredited by a medical education accrediting agency for medical education by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Association; and
  • been accepted by an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education accredited residency program within or outside of New York State.

Nursing

  1.  Are pregnant nurses at increased risk if they care for patients with COVID-19?

Answer: Pregnant healthcare personnel (HCP) should follow risk assessment and infection control guidelines for HCP exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, which are available on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.   The adherence to recommended infection prevention and control practices is an important part of protecting all HCP in healthcare settings.  Information on COVID-19 in pregnancy is very limited; facilities may want to consider limiting exposure of pregnant HCP to patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, especially during higher risk procedures (e.g., aerosol-generating procedures) if feasible based on staffing availability.   Additional information is available on the New York State Department of Health (DOH) website and through DOH’s Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065.   Please continue to monitor these websites and hotlines for updated guidance.

  1.  Are nurses over the age of 65 at increased risk if they care for patients with COVID-19?

Answer:  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has risk assessment and infection control guidelines for health care personnel (HCP) who are exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.  The adherence to recommended infection prevention and control practices is an important part of protecting all HCP in healthcaresettings.  Additional information is available on the New York State Department of Health (DOH) website and through DOH’s Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065. Please continue to monitor these websites and hotlines for updated guidance.

  1.  Are nurses who are immunocompromised or who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, at increased risk if they care for patients with COVID-19?

Answer:  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has risk assessment and infection control guidelines for health care personnel (HCP) who are exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.  The adherence to recommended infection prevention and control practices 4 is an important part of protecting all HCP in healthcare settings.  Additional information is available on the New York State Department of Health website. 

  1.  I am a travel nurse.  Where can I learn about New York’s infection control and prevention standards relating to the care of patients with contagious respiratory infections?

Answer: The adherence to recommended infection prevention and control practices is an important part of protecting all HCP in healthcare settings. The most current and reliable infection control and prevention strategies related to COVID-19 may be accessed on the CDC website.
The OSHA has developed interim guidance to help prevent worker exposure to COVID-19 which may be accessed on the United States Department of Labor’s website. Please continue to monitor these websites for updated guidance.

  1.  Is New York State waiving the license or registration fees for nurses as part of the state of emergency?   Is New York State expediting its nurse licensure process to help address the COVID 19 pandemic?

Answer: New York State is not currently waving licensure or registration fees for nurses. Currently there is no backlog in processing nurse license applications. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is working closely with other New York State agencies and the Governor’s Office to tackle issues relating to COVID-19. Please continue to monitor the Department’s website for updated guidance. 

  1.  Can I get an extension of my nurse exam ATT? 

Answer: For guidance relative to the NYCLEX exam, please contact Pearson Vue. In addition, you should also monitor the Department’s website for additional guidance.  

Pharmacy

  1. Due to the current circumstances regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS’ state of emergency, will the board office make this one of the special circumstances in which we allow an exam ATT extension? AND will we allow an extension greater than 90 days?

Answer: For updated information regarding deadlines and extensions relative to the MPJE and NAPLEX exams in light of COVID 19, please continue to monitor the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). In addition, The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is currently working closely with other New York State agencies and the Governor’s Office to tackle issues relating to COVID-19. Please continue to monitor the Department’s website for updated guidance.

  1. Where can I find guidelines pertaining to personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Answer: For the most up to date guidance on PPE usage, please continue to reference the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) website and USP’s most recent guidance.

  1. Will the live cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or basic life support (BLS) course requirement for pharmacist immunization certification be temporarily suspended to permit pharmacists to take CPR or BLS courses online or virtually to satisfy their required CPR or BLS certification for their immunization privilege?

    Answer: Yes, the live CPR or BLS course requirement for pharmacist immunization certification is temporarily suspended to permit pharmacists to take CPR or BLS courses online or virtually to satisfy their required CPR or BLS certification for their immunization privilege.  The temporary suspension of this live course requirement will be in effect until 30 days after the expiration of Executive Order 202. All other pharmacist immunization certification requirements remain in effect. For more information regarding the pharmacist immunization certification requirements, see: 
    http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pharm/pharmimmunizations.htm

  2. Where can I find information pertaining to the dispensing of Clozapine during COVID-19?

    Answer: For the most up to date information on Clozapine dispensing during COVID-19, please visit the New York State Office of Mental Health's Guidance website.

  3. During the COVID-19 outbreak are pharmacists still required to document when a patient declines medication counseling?

    Answer: Pursuant to Executive Order 202.10, which, among other things, relieves recordkeeping requirements to the extent necessary for health care providers to perform tasks as may be necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, pharmacists are not required to document when a patient declines medication counseling. However, to the extent practical, pharmacist should try to do so.

  4. Where can hospitals find guidance regarding access to Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19?

Answer: The New York State Department of Health’s (NYSDOH) Division of Epidemiology recently released a health advisory to hospitals containing such information.

  1. What protective measures should be taken within the pharmacy department to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    Answer: Healthcare professionals understand the importance of infection control; it is essential for safe practice. In addition, 8 NYCRR §29.2(a)(13) requires that pharmacists use scientifically accepted infection prevention techniques appropriate to the practice of pharmacy and provides specific examples of such techniques.

    As links in the healthcare delivery chain, pharmacies and pharmacy departments that provide direct services to the public should take reasonable, common-sense steps to minimize the spread of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Such steps will protect the public and employees alike.

    Please consult the guidelines available through the Centers for Disease Control and New York Department of Health. Retail establishments around the world have taken simple steps to uphold their responsibilities to their customers and employees. Consider how to adapt these guidelines to your practice to help keep everyone safe. Here are just some examples of potential accommodations; please reference the links above for additional scenarios:

    • Utilizing the pharmacy drive thru window as much as possible in applicable areas
    • Encouraging prescription delivery services to patients
    • Maximizing phone consultation services
    • Encouraging social distancing in your establishment
  1. What do we do if we need to temporarily close our pharmacy due to a potential COVID-19 exposure?

Answer: As per 8 NYCRR §63.6(a)(5), you must notify the Board of Pharmacy within 48 hours of the closure by completing the following form. Please send this form to PHARMBD@nysed.gov. COVID-19 related closures must follow the guidance for health care facilities recommended by the CDC and the New York State Department of Health

  1. Due to COVID-19, do registered resident pharmacies and registered resident outsourcing facilities have the temporary authority to compound certain alcohol-based hand sanitizer products?

Answer: Yes. Executive Order 202.11 suspended Section 6808(1) of the Education Law and any associated regulations, to the extent necessary to temporarily permit registered resident pharmacies and registered resident outsourcing facilities to compound certain alcohol-based hand sanitizer products, consistent with the Food and Drug Administration’s Policy for Temporary Compounding of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (March 2020).

  1. Are there specific requirements for prescribing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine during the COVID-19 health emergency?

Answer: Yes. Pursuant to Executive Order 202.11, a prescription or medication order for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine should not be dispensed or distributed unless the prescription or medication order is written for one of the following reasons:

  1. an FDA-approved indication; or
  2. for an indication supported by one or more citations included or approved for inclusion in the compendia specified in 42 U.S.C. §1396-r-8(g)(1)(B)(i); or
  3. patients in inpatient setting and acute settings; or
  4. residents in a subacute part of a skilled nursing home; or
  5. as part of a study approved by an Institutional Review Board.

Any person authorized to prescribe such medications must note on the prescription the condition for which such prescription has been issued. Days supply dispensed of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine must match the quantity required by the prescription or medication order, as long as the prescription or medication order is compliant with these guidelines and the amount requested to be dispensed falls within normal treatment guidelines for the FDA-approved indication.

  1. Is there any guidance regarding the remote processing of prescriptions and medication orders from an unregistered site, during the COVID-19 health emergency?

Answer: Yes. Pursuant Executive Order 202.11 and, in response to COVID-19, and its potential impact on communities’ and hospitals’ access to pharmacy services due to potential pharmacists and/or other pharmacy staff positive exposures, pharmacists and pharmacy staff are permitted to engage in the processing of prescriptions and medication orders from an unregistered site, until the expiration of Executive Order 202. 

It should be noted that SED approval of a pharmacy’s technology solutions for remote processing is not required. However, any pharmacy engaged in remote processing must, upon SED’s request, be able to justify and document how its technology meets the requirements of this guidance, as well as any applicable laws and regulations. 

Pharmacy staff is permitted to perform remote order entry and remote order entry verification under the following conditions, consistent with current pharmacy requirements.  For pharmacists, remote processing does not include the dispensing of a drug. 

  • If performing remote processing in New York, the pharmacist must be a New York-licensed and registered pharmacist, either employed or a contract employee of a registered New York registered pharmacy.
  • A pharmacist providing personal supervision for remote order entry and remote order entry verification processing via technology must be: (1) readily available to answer questions of a pharmacy intern or unlicensed staff, under his/her supervision; and (2) fully responsible for the practice and/or accuracy of the pharmacy intern’s and/or unlicensed staff’s work.
  • Each pharmacist and pharmacy intern practicing and engaged in remote order entry and remote order verification must have current and appropriate credentials with the State of New York as defined, but, not limited to sections 6801, 6802, 6805 and 6806 of Education Law.
  • At the present time, existing staffing ratio requirements (relative to the ratio of a pharmacist to pharmacy interns and unlicensed staff) must be maintained in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations, except as stated in E.O. 202.10, which suspended 10 NYCRR §405.2(3) to the extent necessary to permit general hospitals affected by the disaster emergency to maintain adequate staffing.

Protected Heath Information (PHI)

  • Patient and medication information must be processed and maintained in a manner that protects each patient’s PHI.
  • Physical PHI must not leave the registered pharmacy premises.
  • PHI accessed during remote order entry and remote order verification must be protected from all routes of accidental disclosure.
  • Failure to appropriately protect PHI is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and may result in disciplinary action.

Prescription Images

  • Prescriptions must be able to be accessed, at all times, during the data entry process, whether it be from within the registered pharmacy premises or from a remote location.
  • An audit trail that identifies each appropriately credentialed pharmacist, pharmacy intern, and unlicensed staff involved in the receipt, entry, verification and dispensing of a prescription must be maintained daily and made available upon SED’s request. Such audit trail must include the identity of each pharmacist conducting final verification of each prescription during the dispensing process.

Drug Utilization Reviews (DURs)

  • DURs can be done from a remote location or from within the registered pharmacy premises, but only by an appropriately credentialed pharmacist or pharmacy intern personally supervised by the appropriately credentialed pharmacist.
  • A record of each DUR must be maintained that details the identity of each appropriately credentialed pharmacist or pharmacy intern personally supervised by the appropriately credentialed pharmacist conducting each DUR.

Quality Assurance Reports

  • Any and all Quality Assurance reports must be maintained within the registered pharmacy premises where the respective prescription was accepted for dispensing and from which such prescription was ultimately dispensed for delivery to the patient or patient’s representative.
  • The registered pharmacy at which remote order entry and remote order entry verification is conducted by appropriately credentialed individuals (pharmacists, interns, and unlicensed personnel) must be documented in any and all quality assurance reports, when the prescription is dispensed with the involvement of appropriately credentialed individuals from multiple registered, New York Licensed pharmacies.

The appropriately credentialed pharmacist conducting the final verification of a prescription, during the dispensing process, is responsible for the dispensing of such prescription in its totality, as referenced, but, not limited to the guidance provided above.

Veterinary Medicine

  1. Is there guidance regarding essential veterinary or animal care services?

    Answer: The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has a Veterinary Advisory with guidance and information related to the COVID-19 emergency. 

     

Last Updated: April 8, 2020