Pennsylvania nurses call out state licensing board for delays, poor customer service

Since Pennsylvania's centralized electronic system for licensing boards launched in 2016, nurses across the state say they've faced delays and rude service, according to Spotlight PA.

Pennsylvania launched the $10 million system as a solution to excess paperwork and long wait times. However, the rollout has taken longer than expected. Nurses, lawmakers and state officials say the system is frustrating to use and hasn't fixed problems, Spotlight PA reports.

Last year, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf ordered a review of all licensing boards and found the nursing board takes an average of 17 days to process licensing requests. However, acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, who oversees the boards, told Spotlight PA she has "no confidence" in that number. Ms. Boockvar said a review of data in June found the average total processing time for registered nurses was 88 days in 2018.

The first phase of the licensing process — from when nurses apply to when they're approved to take the licensing exam — took an average of 37.5 days last year, according to Ms. Boockvar. That same phase takes eight days in New Jersey, according to the state's licensing board officials.

Pennsylvania nurses also said they've experienced curt responses and long hold times when they called the licensing board with questions. Some calls were left on hold for hours, sometimes until the office closed, at which point calls disconnected, reports Spotlight PA. Ms. Boockvar contested these claims, saying average hold times were nine to 10 minutes. She also told Spotlight PA nursing board staff hadn't gone through customer service training yet and that this year's processing times have improved.

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Since Pennsylvania's centralized electronic system for licensing boards launched in 2016, nurses across the state say they've faced delays and rude service, according to Spotlight PA.

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