HHS urges governors regarding state licensure and other laws to be suspended
On March 24, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent a letter that urges governors to use all available authorities to waive or suspend state licensure, supervision, and scope-of-practice laws and regulations to extend the capacity of the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Secretary asks governors to:
- Honor out-of-state licenses to allow health professionals from any state to deliver services, either in person or through tele-health, and consider waiving licensure fees and suspending certain licensure requirements
- Waive state laws or regulations preventing the use of tele-health
- Relax scope-of-practice regulations–including encouraging state boards to place a moratorium on enforcement of any scope-of-practice violations
- Relax physician supervision requirements to permit remote supervision and allow doctors to supervise greater numbers of other professionals
- Speed up licensure for new health care professionals and relicensure for retired professionals reentering the workforce
- Work with the insurance commissioner to modify existing medical malpractice policies to waive provisions that would keep health professionals from practicing across state lines
- Modify laws or regulations to allow medical students to diagnose and treat patients
- Allow signature-less delivery of pharmaceuticals.
Governors who choose to act on these recommendations will need to work with state agencies and regulatory boards to implement them. AOTA is ready to work with state associations to determine how this guidance can be used to advocate for OT, especially if there are opportunities to expand tele-health and secure reimbursement for tele-health services.
Additionally, Governors, state legislatures, licensing boards, Medicaid, and private insurers continue to take action related to COVID-19. Recent updates can be found highlighted in this chart as well as below. Please stay up to date regarding the COVID-19 pandemic with Elite’s weekly newsletter content.