August 22, 2008
HEALTH PROFESSIONS LICENSURE BY ENDORSEMENT
By: John Kasprak, Senior Attorney
You asked, based on the Department of Public Health's (DPH) denial of a marital and family therapist license to someone already licensed in California, whether such denials have been challenged in court and whether DPH has made similar rulings.
BACKGROUND – LICENSURE BY ENDORSEMENT
The issue presented is generally one of “licensure by endorsement.” This basically means that a person licensed in another state can be licensed in Connecticut without examination provided the applicant has education, credentials and other qualifications which are substantially equivalent to Connecticut's requirements for licensure. Connecticut provides this avenue to licensure for a number of health professions including marital and family therapist (CGA § 20-195c), physicians (§ 20-12), chiropractors (§ 20-27), natureopaths (§ 20-37b), podiatrists (§ 20-57), physical therapists (§ 20-71), nurses (§§ 20-94, 97), dentists (§ 20-110), psychologists (§ 20-190), clinical social workers (§ 20-195n), and professional counselors (§ 20-195dd).
When reviewing an application for licensure in such cases, DPH is comparing Connecticut's requirements to those of the state in which the applicant is licensed, regardless of the applicant's qualifications. DPH makes a determination as to whether the other state's licensure requirements are substantially similar to or higher than those of Connecticut.
CHALLENGES TO DPH DECISIONS, POSSIBLE OPTIONS
We are not aware of any court challenges to DPH for denial of a license by endorsement. Certainly there have been other situations, involving marital and family therapists and other health professions, in which an applicant licensed in another state is determined not to qualify for Connecticut licensure. Some of these cases have led to legislative changes, either “permanent” revisions to the licensure statutes or temporary licensing requirements that are in place only for a short period (e.g., 30 days) that would allow an applicant to qualify for licensure.
For example, in 2008 the legislature passed a law allowing DPH, for a 30 day period, to license as an acupuncturist any applicant presenting satisfactory evidence of (1) receiving a bachelor of medicine degree before 1985, (2) successfully completing all portions of the acupuncturist examination administered by a national certification commission, and (3) successfully completing a specific clean needle course (PA 08-184, § 33).
That same 2008 public act (§ 31) allowed DPH to license as a radiographer, for a 30 day period following the act's effective date, an applicant presenting satisfactory evidence of (1) holding a current radiologic technician license from another state issued before October 1, l965 and with no disciplinary history; (2) completing a course of study in radiologic technology before June 30, 1964; and (3) practicing as a radiologic technologist for at least two years within the five-year period immediately preceding the date he or she applies to DPH.
Also, the 2008 legislature passed a similar time limited licensure period for perfusionists (PA 08-184, § 30).