Health care workers with out-of-state licenses will be able to continue to practice in New York under a measure signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

The measure is meant to address a since-expired COVID-era executive order that allowed nurses and physicians to operate in New York without an in-state license. More broadly, the law in part will help address an ongoing health care worker shortage in the state over the last several years. 

The measure applies to nurses who have been working in New York before the executive order expired on May 22 and have already applied for a license to practice in New York. They will have an additional 180 days to secure the license. 

“Maintaining a robust and stable healthcare workforce is the cornerstone of providing quality care to all New Yorkers,” said state Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “Allowing these individuals to work, while encouraging them to reside and settle in New York, will boost our healthcare workforce at a time when we need to imminently fill gaps and shortages."

Lawmakers pointed to the lengthy waiting period for health care workers to obtain a license in New York. The worker is barred from providing health care in New York while the application is being processed. 

New York health care networks in parts of the state have struggled with worker shortages, with officials pointing to a variety of factors that include burnout as well as vaccine requirements. Financial struggles have also affected some health care networks in the state. 

Hochul has sought to expand the number of nurses in New York through incentives as well as increase the number of workers in the sector by 20% over the next five years.

But the more immediate concern has been the executive order's expiration in May and the extension needed for those without an in-state license.

“Healthcare workforce challenges are nothing new, but have clearly been accelerated by the pandemic,” said Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky. “By amending our healthcare requirements to allow out of state nurses and doctors to practice in New York, we were better able to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19. If we allowed this Executive Order to lapse, we would risk a statewide healthcare crisis. Allowing these qualified professionals to continue to work will give the state time to grow our workforce internally through expanded educational programming and incentives."