During the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis, the Division of Consumer Affairs has taken extraordinary measures to ensure New Jersey is prepared to meet the increased demand for healthcare services. Through our Healthcare Emergency Licensure Program (HELP), we have created pathways for thousands of retired, out-of-state, foreign-licensed, and newly graduated healthcare professionals to quickly become licensed in New Jersey and expand our available healthcare workforce to safely provide quality care to patients during the coronavirus outbreak.
We have also guided NJ healthcare licensees on how to safely practice during the pandemic, and taken steps to prevent drug shortages caused by the inappropriate prescribing and hoarding of drugs being used to fight COVID-19. DCA’s COVID-19 healthcare initiatives include:
Board of Pharmacy – Oral Authorization of Schedule II Medications
The New Jersey Board of Pharmacy (Board) is providing this guidance for the pharmacy community concerning
Administrative Order 2020-18 and Waiver 2020-16 (DCA-AO-2020-18, DCA-W-2020-16).
Oral Authorization of Schedule II medications: Pursuant to this Administrative Order, a pharmacist may now dispense up to a 30-day supply of Schedule II CDS upon the oral order of a prescriber. In addition, consistent with waivers issued by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, follow up paper prescriptions may be submitted within 15 days, and may be submitted via facsimile. This waiver does NOT apply to "initial" opioid prescriptions for pain; it is only applicable for patients being treated for "chronic" pain.
The pharmacist must use his or her professional judgment when dispensing pursuant to the oral order of a prescriber. The pharmacist should only dispense the amount adequate to treat the patient during the emergency period, but in no case more than a 30-day supply. The pharmacist shall reduce the prescription to writing, with all information required to be included for a valid prescription, other than the signature of the prescribing practitioner. The follow up paper prescription should be included in the patient profile when received.
Health and Safety Standards for Nursing Programs and Certified Homemaker-Home Health Aide Training Programs
The Division has issued Administrative Order 2020-17 which establishes standards for the reopening of nursing programs and CHHA training programs. To learn more,
Authorization of Telemedicine Encounters (CDS Prescribing)
The Division has waived rules to allow healthcare providers who have existing CDS prescribing authority to use telemedicine encounters to meet CDS prescribing requirements. For more information,
DCA-AO-2020-15 and DCA-W-2020-14
Prescribing Opioids in New Jersey
Click here to find a summary of the rules pertaining to the prescribing of Controlled Dangerous Substances ("CDS") in New Jersey and the requirements relating to when, and in what circumstances, prescribers must access the
New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program. This handy
2-page guide reflects:
- The generally applicable rules.
- The waivers of certain in-person examination requirements relating to the prescribing of CDS and the authorization of medical marijuana, allowing the use of telemedicine during the current public health emergency, as set forth in
Administrative Order (DCA AO-2020-15).
The requirement to co-prescribe naloxone to chronic patients obtaining 90 MMEs or more of opioids or the concurrent prescription of an opioid and a benzodiazepine, as set forth in
Administrative Order (DCA 2020-08). (See FAQs)
Waiver of On-Site Supervision Requirement
The Division has temporarily waived on-site supervision requirements for audiology and speech-language pathology temporary licensees, certain licensed occupational therapy assistants, and licensed physical therapy assistants. To learn more,
Temporary Certification of Alcohol and Drug Counselor - Interns
To meet the increased demand for alcohol and drug counselor services, and to allow alcohol and drug counselor interns to provide services via telehealth and telemedicine, the State of New Jersey is granting temporary certifications to interns who meet certain qualifications. For additional information,
Emergency Graduate Licensure Program for Mental Health Professionals
To meet the increased demand for certain mental health care professionals during the current state of emergency and public health emergency, the State of New Jersey is licensing those who have graduated within the last six months, with an extra 90-day grace period for those who graduated on or after December 1, 2019, from masters and doctoral-level social work and counseling programs located in any state who have not yet taken their licensing exams. For additional information,
Tests for COVID-19 antibodies have been developed, but data is lacking on what exactly these tests mean. There is still much that is unknown about COVID-19 infection and antibody testing,
click here to see what is currently known.
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has issued an
Administrative Order which establishes practices and precautions for licensed veterinarians to protect patients, clients, veterinarians, and office staff from the continued risks posed by COVID-19.
For more information click
Healthcare Services in Office Practices
Requirement to Co-prescribe an Opioid Antidote (Naloxone)
The Division of Consumer Affairs issued an
Administrative Order on May 21, 2020, requiring prescribing practitioners licensed by the Boards of Medical Examiners, Dentistry, Nursing, and Optometry, to co-prescribe an opioid antidote (naloxone) when continuously prescribing for chronic pain management if the patient has one or more prescriptions totaling 90 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) or more per day, or is concurrently obtaining an opioid and a benzodiazepine. This Administrative Order will remain in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency and the Public Health Emergency declared by Governor Murphy, whichever is longer.
Please be advised that an identical rule was proposed by the State Board of Medical Examiners on April 6, 2020, and is open for public comment until June 5, 2020; the Boards of Dentistry, Nursing, and Optometry has proposed an amendment substantively identical to the co-prescribing rule proposed by the State Board of Medical Examiners, but has not yet published the proposal in the New Jersey Register.
Prescribing Opioids in New Jersey
Click here to find a summary of the rules pertaining to the prescribing of Controlled Dangerous Substances ("CDS") in New Jersey and the requirements relating to when and in what circumstances.
prescribers must access the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program. This handy 2 page guide reflects:
- the general rules; and
- the waivers set forth in an Administrative Order (DCA AO-2020-15) of certain in-person examination requirements that can be met through the use of telemedicine during the current public health emergency, relating to the prescribing of CDS and the authorization of medical marijuana.
The requirement set forth in an Administrative Order (DCA 2020-08)
requiring the co-prescribing of naloxone to chronic patients obtaining 90 MMEs
or more of opioids or the concurrent prescription of an opioid and a
The Division also has a FAQ document that explains pharmacists' role in
implementing this new, emergency rule, and will assist them in determining when and how to issue
naloxone to customers. (See FAQs)
Pharmacists Authorization to Provide COVID-19 Testing
The Director of the Division of Consumer affairs has entered an
Administrative Order permitting pharmacists in New Jersey to collect specimens to test for COVID-19 or its antibodies using tests approved by the FDA or authorized pursuant to an Emergency Use Authorization. Please read and familiarize yourself with the requirements of the
entire order, as the following is only a summary.
Rules, Guidance, and Resources
Out-of-State Reciprocity Licensees
Recent Graduate Licensure Program
Reactivated Retiree Licensees
Waivers of Certain Rules to Expand Access to Care