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URGENT Minnesota doc, dentist, nurse, therapist licensing... #RochMN

If you're a doctor, nurse, radiology technician, massage therapist, respiratory therapist, physical therapist or other medical professional in Minnesota whose license is nearing expiration, RENEW YOUR LICENSE NOW to avoid losing your ability to practice your specialty as of Thursday.

Minnesota state government is preparing to shut down Thursday afternoon (June 30, 2011). If the Legislature and governor don't come to a budget agreement by then, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice is likely to close.

That means it will cease issuing new state medical licenses for doctors, and renewing licenses that expire. 

This is probably true for other specialties besides medical doctors. So the time to act is right now.

For physicians, "online renewals for those with licenses expiring through September 30, 2011 may renew online prior to 12:00 Noon June 30th, 2011," the Board of Medical Practice says.

If you're other than a physician, but still need a state license, better check with your board to make sure you're good to go.

The Minnesota Board of Nursing says it is not currently among agencies considered essential and it will close. Its biennial funding runs out Thursday.

Thus, the Board of Nursing says, it will not:
• Grant new licenses.  
• Accept new license applications.
• Accept test results from the nurse license testing service.
• Notify testing services of an individual's eligibility to test.
• Accept confirmation of nursing program completion from any nursing program.
• Renew existing nurse licenses. 
"If your license expires, you may not work as a nurse until we resume operations and are able to process your renewal application," the Board of Nursing says.
• Verify current licensure of Minnesota nurses.
• Confirm that someone is licensed as a nurse.
• Check disciplinary status.
• Accept complaints about nursing service.
• Provide online services.
• Provide board staff for communication availability.

The concerns also cover dentists, dental hygienists and other health professionals who require state licensure. If you live in small-town Minnesota, you might want to check to make sure your doctors and nurses have all renewed their licenses.

Imagine if your town doc's license expires and the clinic can't recruit a replacement from out of state (because out-of-staters won't be licensed in Minnesota).

Intriguingly, there won't be anybody to get in trouble with if you go ahead and practice medicine — until the budget problem gets fixed. Then you'll have to face the board.

Read great work on this topic by Minnesota Public Radio's Lorna Benson.

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel


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In the end, a deal was made and you're right that hundreds didn't end up without licenses, mostly because hospitals and clinics had urged staff to get their licenses updated. But there were delays in health-related services, such as inspections required by law for continued service and the effects were just beginning to be felt when state legislators and the governor reached a deal. More obvious in terms of the public view were closures of parks, stoppage of road projects and temporary job loss for state-funded workers.

That's pretty crazy - what happened with this in the end? Didn't hear about this because we are not in Minnesota. Surely hundreds of medical professionals didn't just end up without licenses - could be disastrous!

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