Gov. Josh Shapiro has announced plans to cut red tape and make it easier to work in Pennsylvania by creating a “money-back” guarantee for industries that require different professional licenses, certificates and permits --- and that includes nursing licenses.
In February 2021, PANA joined with the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) and the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (PCNP) to push the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing (SBON) to do more to address urgent concerns and challenges regarding licensing.
At the time, members reported difficulties related to initial licensure and/or renewal application processes. There were numerous examples where an employer has suspended a nurse due to a lag in new or renewal applications. Problems still persist, today.
Under the executive order Shapiro signed on Jan. 31, the governor is directing state agencies to catalog all the licenses, certificates and permits they issue, the rules outlining how long agencies should take to process applications, and the fees that are charged. Agencies have 90 days to comply.
Shapiro also made the pledge that if it takes too long to get a professional license, applicants should get their money back.
In 2021, NPR reported that Pennsylvania had some of the longest wait times in the country to issue nursing licenses, a critical need during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But it's not just nurses. More than one million workers need a license from Pennsylvania to do their jobs, ranging from doctors and hair stylists to accountants and real estate agents, according to a 2018 report by the Department of State.
Shapiro is directing state agencies to review existing digital services used to apply for licenses, certificates and permits, and then work to modernize them.
More details are forthcoming as agencies prepare their reports in the next 90 days.