Push to Fix Broken Healthcare Professional Licensing Process by NJ Government!
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How would you feel if you went to school for years to become educated in a healthcare field, possibly completed a thesis or became published for your hard work, graduated, passed your board, got job interviews, and were offered a position with the stipulation that you present your NJ professional license to the company... and then your license does't come? You applied. But you wait two months, three months, four months and no license.
Apparently, the NJ Department of Consumer Affairs and its internal Boards do not care. They are not adhering to their own timelines regarding the licensing of healthcare professionals. Beyond this, the Department is misplacing documents containing private information (such as SSN) and applicants' fee money for months at a time with a paper only system.
The problem became apparent as the author of this petition was attempting to reactivate her Physical Therapist license after being out of state. After submitting all necessary documents, her certified mail receipt showed the application had at least gotten to the correct building. Three weeks later, she called the department for an update and was told that while it may have been received, it was not “in the system.” This situation was a near duplicate of when she initially applied for licensing in 2012. She called daily and was hung up on as staff insisted that she had not mailed the application. It was eventually found in the mail room of the Department, months after being sent, and nearly causing her to have her first job offer rescinded simply because she had no license to hand them.
Other professionals have come forward. For one physical therapist, it took six months to receive a new license after changing to her married name. She also said it took her two months of sending letters of complaint every other day to Lisa Tadeo (Executive Director) just to get a replacement license when hers was lost.
A social worker reported it taking six months to have a license transferred from another state. The Department required redundancy of already sent paperwork and two sets of checks simply because the application "expired" sitting on a pile.
A nurse (RN) reported needing to physically drive to Newark and demand to be given a number just to register to take the NCLEX. The application to obtain this number had been mailed three months prior, overnighted to ensure swift delivery.
When NJ is not adhering to its timeline for processing (which they will tell you is 10 to 15 business days from the time the application is “put in the system”), they are directly responsible for keeping healthcare workers from caring for their patients, and from making a living. The victims of carelessness and inefficiency are rendered unemployable. If licenses have incorrect information because of a delay in processing, risks are being taken by both employer and employee. Money and private information of applicants who want nothing more than to do what their license enables them to do is being mishandled. I think we can all agree that this is at minimum unacceptable, and at most negligent and deplorable.
We hope this petition will result in:
-A tracking system for submitted applications to ensure both transparency of process and timeliness. This should be enacted within 6 months.
-Accountability for receiving and getting applicants "in the system." This may include a single person who is responsible for, and signs off on, any certified mail packages containing applications or related documents.
-Timely handling of checks or money sent in company with applications to ensure they are not misplaced (within 30 days)
-An applicant driven computer system accessible to the Department in which the applicant can submit information electronically regarding name changes, address changes, track approved continuing education and request letters of approval.
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