Governors and state legislatures across the country have been tackling a laundry list of items during these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a flurry of activity in the form of executive orders and new laws attempting to deal with this health crisis. This information is provided as of June 17, 2020; however, as the COVID-19 landscape is changing rapidly and varies geographically, always check the most recent guidance for your state.
On March 9, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order #103,1 declaring a state of emergency and public health emergency across all 21 counties in New Jersey, allowing state agencies and departments to utilize state resources to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases.
The declaration tasked the State Director of Emergency Management and Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, Colonel Patrick Callahan, in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner, Judith Persichilli, to oversee the implementation of the State Emergency Operations plan and generally direct the State’s emergency response.
Additionally, the declaration triggered executive powers and safeguards, such as prohibiting excessive price increases pursuant to New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and allowing waivers on certain procurement procedures to expedite the delivery of goods and services necessary for coronavirus preparedness and response efforts. This emergency declaration also empowered all state agencies, specifically the Departments of Banking and Insurance and Health and Human Services and the Civil Service Commission, to take all appropriate steps to address the public health hazard of COVID-19.2
On March 16, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #104,3 implementing aggressive social distancing measures to mitigate further spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Among the directives, the Order indefinitely closed all public and private preschool, elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. The Order also closed all casinos, racetracks, gyms, movie theaters and performing arts centers. The Order mandated that all non-essential retail, recreational and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations.
On March 21, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #107,4 directing all residents to stay at home until further notice. The Order provided for certain exceptions, such as obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work or engaging in outdoor activities.
On March 23, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #109,5 suspending all elective surgeries and invasive procedures performed on adults that were scheduled to take place after 5:00 p.m. on March 27. This Order applied to all medical and dental operations that can be delayed without undue risk to the patient’s current or future health, as determined by the patient’s physician or dentist.
This Order also required the following:
- Protection of hospital capacity: Physicians and dentists who planned to perform surgery or invasive procedures in their offices are required to consider, before performing any operation, the potential burden of post-surgery complications on local hospitals.
- Explicit exemption for family planning: The Order provides that it shall not in any way limit access to family planning services, including termination of pregnancies.
- Inventory of personal protective equipment: Any business, non-hospital healthcare facility or institution of higher learning in possession of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, respirators or anesthesia machines not needed to provide critical healthcare services were required to undertake an inventory of these supplies and send that information to the State by March 27.
On March 28, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #111,6 directing healthcare facilities to report daily data concerning their capacity and supplies to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM). The healthcare facilities subject to this requirement include licensed acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospital systems and emergency field treatment medical facilities. The OEM has the ability to make additions or clarifications to this list. This reporting was required by 10 a.m. on a daily basis starting March 29.
On April 1, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #112,7 authorizing the Division of Consumer Affairs to temporarily reactivate the licenses of recently retired healthcare professionals and grant temporary licenses to doctors licensed in foreign countries. The Order also temporarily permitted certain healthcare professionals to perform acts outside their ordinary scope of practice and granted broad civil immunity to healthcare professionals and facilities providing services in support of New Jersey’s COVID-19 response efforts who are acting in good faith.
On April 2, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #113,8 authorizing the New Jersey State Director of Emergency Management to commandeer personal services and/or real or personal property. This includes medical supplies and equipment from private companies and institutions to help meet the continued need for ventilators and PPE in hospitals, healthcare facilities and emergency response agencies due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
On April 7, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #119,9 extending the public health emergency by an additional 30 days.
On May 6, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #138,10 extending the public health emergency by an additional 30 days.
On May 15, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #145,11 allowing elective surgeries and invasive procedures, both medical and dental, to resume on May 26. “Safety and protection of patients and staff will be paramount,” said Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Facilities must develop plans to test patients within 72 hours of surgery and conduct symptom screening the day of surgery. Patients who test positive for COVID-19 prior to surgery or who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should not have elective surgical procedures.”12
On June 4, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #151,13 extending the public health emergency by an additional 30 days.
Newly Enacted New Jersey Laws
Assembly Bill #3843,14 sponsored by Assemblyman John McKeon and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, signed into law by Governor Murphy on March 20, 2020, requires health insurance carriers (health, hospital and medical service corporations, health maintenance organizations and insurance companies), as well as the State and School Employees’ Health Benefits Programs and the State Medicaid program, to provide coverage for expenses incurred during the following:
- Testing for COVID-19, provided that a licensed medical practitioner has issued a medical order for that testing
- Delivery of healthcare services through telemedicine or telehealth in accordance with the provisions of P.L.2017, c.117 (C.45:1-61 et al.).
The law requires the coverage be provided to the same extent as for any other service under the health benefits plan, except that no cost sharing may be imposed on the coverage provided pursuant to the bill.
The requirements of the law remain in effect during the public health emergency and state of emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order #103 of 2020.
Assembly Bill #3854,15 sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conaway and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, signed into law by Governor Murphy on March 20, 2020, provides that for the duration of the public health emergency declared in connection with COVID-19, all licensed healthcare facilities and clinical laboratories are authorized to collect specimens for testing for COVID-19.
The law expressly authorizes the Commissioner of Health, during a public health emergency, to waive mandatory staffing ratio requirements for healthcare facilities.
Assembly Bill #3860,16 sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin and Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, signed into law by Governor Murphy on March 19, 2020, provides that, for the duration of the public health emergency declared in response to COVID-19, any healthcare practitioner is authorized to provide and bill for services using telemedicine and telehealth, regardless of whether rules and regulations concerning the practice of telemedicine and telehealth have been adopted pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act [P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.)]. The services authorized by this legislation include the full range of services set forth in the definitions of telemedicine and telehealth in this Act [section 1 of P.L.2017, c.117 (C.45:1-61)] that are appropriate under the standard of care.
A practitioner who is not licensed or certified to practice in New Jersey may provide healthcare services under the law using telemedicine and telehealth, provided that the following conditions are met: 1) The practitioner is licensed or certified to practice in another state or territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia and is in good standing in that jurisdiction; 2) the services provided by that practitioner are consistent with the practitioner’s authorized scope of practice in the jurisdiction that issued the practitioner’s license or certification; 3) unless the practitioner has a preexisting provider–patient relationship with the patient that is unrelated to COVID-19, the services provided are limited to services related to screening for, diagnosing or treating COVID-19; and 4) in the event that the practitioner determines that a telemedicine or telehealth encounter with a patient located in New Jersey will not involve screening for, diagnosing or treating COVID-19, and the practitioner does not have a preexisting provider–patient relationship with the patient that is unrelated to COVID-19, the practitioner advises the patient that the practitioner is not authorized to provide services to the patient, recommends that the patient initiate a new telemedicine or telehealth encounter with a healthcare practitioner licensed or certified to practice in New Jersey and terminates the telemedicine or telehealth encounter.
The law requires that any amount charged for services provided under the law be reasonable and consistent with the ordinary fees typically charged for that service. In the event that a healthcare practitioner who is not licensed to practice in New Jersey is required to terminate a telemedicine or telehealth encounter because the encounter does not involve the provision of services related to screening, diagnosing or treating COVID-19, the practitioner is prohibited from billing for any services provided during the encounter.
Assembly Bill No. 3862,17 sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Giblin and Assemblyman John Armato, signed into law by Governor Murphy on March 19, 2020, allows the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, with the approval of the Attorney General, to expedite the professional and occupational licensing process for out-of-state individuals when the New Jersey Governor has declared a state of emergency. The individual applying for a specific license, certificate of registration or certification in New Jersey must have a corresponding license, certificate of registration or certification in good standing from another jurisdiction. The law gives the Director and the applicable boards the ability to waive certain requirements normally required in the licensure process, such as a criminal history background check and payment of certain fees for the license, certificate of registration or certification.
Assembly Bill #3901,18 sponsored by Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Assemblyman James Kennedy, signed into law by Governor Murphy April 14, 2020, allows the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, with the approval of the Attorney General, to reactivate a license, registration or certification on an expedited basis when the Governor has declared a state of emergency. This allowance applies to any individual who held a corresponding license, certificate of registration or certification in good standing at the time the individual retired from active practice or was placed on inactive status within the last three years, or such other time frame as the Director may specify. The law also gives the Director and applicable boards the ability to waive certain requirements normally required in the licensure process, to prescribe the duration and terms of any license, certificate of registration or certification granted pursuant to the law and to require any individual granted a license, certificate of registration or certification to practice the profession or occupation in this State, as deemed necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
Assembly Bill #3942,19 sponsored by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, signed into law by Governor Murphy on May 15, 2020, requires a hospital to permit a pregnant woman to be accompanied by at least one individual during the period of labor and delivery in the hospital room where she gives birth.
An Act Providing Immunity from Liability for Certain Claims Alleging Injury or Death During Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency and Facilitating Issuance of Temporary Licenses and Certifications
Senate Bill #2333,20 sponsored by Senator Thomas Kean and Senator Stephen Sweeney, signed into law by Governor Murphy on April 14, 2020, provides the following: 1) A healthcare professional is not liable for civil damages for injury or death alleged to have been sustained as a result of an act or omission by the healthcare professional while providing medical services in support of the State’s response to the outbreak of coronavirus disease during the public health emergency and state of emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order #103 of 2020. 2) A healthcare facility or a healthcare system that owns or operates more than one healthcare facility is not liable for civil damages for injury or death alleged to have been sustained as a result of an act or omission by one or more of its agents, officers, employees, servants, representatives or volunteers, if, and to the extent, such persons are immune from liability pursuant to the law.
Immunity includes any act or omission undertaken in good faith by a healthcare professional or healthcare facility or healthcare system to support efforts to treat patients with COVID-19 and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the public health emergency and state of emergency, including but not limited to engaging in telemedicine or telehealth, and diagnosing or treating patients outside the normal scope of the healthcare professional’s license or practice. The immunity granted pursuant to this provision does not apply to acts or omissions constituting a crime, actual fraud, actual malice, gross negligence, recklessness or willful misconduct, and is retroactive to March 9, 2020.
The law provides that a healthcare facility or a healthcare system that owns or operates more than one healthcare facility is not criminally or civilly liable for damages for injury or death alleged in connection with the allocation of mechanical ventilators or other scarce medical resources, if the healthcare facility or system adopts and adheres to a scarce critical resource allocation policy that at a minimum incorporates the core principles identified by the Commissioner of Health in an executive directive or administrative order.
Senate Bill #2357,21 sponsored by Senator Ronald Rice and Senator Nia Gill, signed into law by Governor Murphy on April 22, 2020, requires hospitals to report COVID-19 demographic data to the Department of Health. This requirement includes the age, ethnicity, gender and race of persons in this State who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have died from the disease. It also includes the number of persons who attempt to get treatment for COVID-19, the number of persons who are admitted for treatment for COVID-19 and the number of persons who attempt to get tested for COVID-19 and were turned away. These requirements are in effect until the end of the State’s declared public health emergency related to COVID-19.
On March 6, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf signed an emergency disaster declaration to provide increased support to state agencies involved in the response to COVID-19.22 The disaster declaration follows the Department of Health’s activation of its Department Operations Center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters to conduct public health and medical coordination for COVID-19 throughout the State.
On May 6, 2020, Governor Wolf signed an executive order giving healthcare practitioners protection against liability for good faith actions taken in response to the call to supplement the healthcare provider workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the course of the pandemic and the disaster declaration associated with it, the Wolf administration has used its authority under the declaration to suspend numerous regulations and regulatory statutes to supplement the healthcare workforce, including facilitating the deployment of retirees and out-of-state healthcare professionals, expanding scope of practices and relaxing supervision requirements for numerous healthcare licensees, bringing in healthcare professionals who have not previously maintained liability coverage and calling on healthcare providers to perform acts they would not perform in the ordinary course of business.23
The Order provides the following:
- Immunity to any individual who holds a license, certificate, registration or certification to practice a healthcare profession or occupation in Pennsylvania and who is engaged in providing COVID-19 medical and health treatment or services during the COVID-19 disaster emergency response. Immunity does not extend to acts or omissions that constitute a crime, gross negligence, fraud, malice or other willful misconduct
- Immunity for those medical professionals in Pennsylvania who provide services in any healthcare facility as defined by the Healthcare Facilities Act, as well as any nursing facility, personal care home, assisted living facility or any alternate care site, community-based testing site or non-congregate care facility used for conducting emergency services activities or providing disaster services activities related to the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 disaster emergency response
- Immunity for any person, organization or authority allowing real estate or other premises used for emergency services without compensation in the case of death, injury or loss or damage to the property of any person who is on the premises for the purpose of those emergency services
- Suspension or removal of a host of regulatory barriers that would otherwise impede or prevent out-of-state, retired or other qualified practitioners from providing services where needed in the Commonwealth.
Newly Enacted Pennsylvania Laws
House Bill #1232,24 sponsored by Representative George Dunbar and Representative David Millard, signed into law by Governor Wolf on March 27, 2020, provides $50 million for the Wolf administration to purchase medical equipment and supplies for hospitals, nursing facilities and emergency medical services to meet the urgent needs of patients and staff. This law provides funding for more beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment that the Pennsylvania healthcare system needs for a surge in patients.
The Connecticut legislature has been on recess since March 1, 2020. Thus, all action by the State during the pandemic has been through executive orders.
Executive Order #725 takes several emergency actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and Governor Ned Lamont’s civil preparedness and public health declarations. These actions include limiting the size of gatherings to 250 people, waiving the 180-day school year requirement, clarifying nursing home visitation restrictions, authorizing the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to extend renewal deadlines and relaxing attendance rules for police academy trainees.
Executive Order #7F26 expands Medicaid telehealth coverage to audio-only telephone. Connecticut general statutes and any implementing regulations, policies, rules or other directives related to the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program, whether or not specifically adopted pursuant to said statute, have been modified to authorize the Commissioner of Social Services to temporarily waive any requirements contained in the statute as the Commissioner deems necessary to enable the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program to cover applicable services provided through audio-only telehealth services.
Executive Order #7O27 modifies the healthcare provider identification badge requirements. This Order allows healthcare providers to offer direct patient care at a healthcare facility or institution, with the permission of such facility or institution, with an identification badge displaying the name of a different healthcare facility or institution, provided all other information on such identification badge conforms to the requirements of such section. This section is modified to authorize the Commissioner of Public Health to establish policies and procedures regarding the badging of COVID-19 response personnel should it be deemed necessary to rapidly move staff due to the need for mass care in a circumstance of limited resources and to issue any necessary related orders.
Executive Order #7V28 modifies Connecticut general statutes regarding temporary permits and policies regarding practice before licensure for certain healthcare providers. This Order waives any application fees for temporary permits and extends the duration of the temporary permits for the healthcare professions governed (athletic trainer, respiratory care practitioner, physician assistant, occupational therapist/assistants, master social worker), for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency, unless earlier modified or terminated. The Order also modifies Connecticut general statutes that permit practice before licensure by applicants and graduates for the healthcare professions governed (physical therapist, physical therapy assistant, radiographer, registered nurse, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist), to permit such practice for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency, unless earlier modified or terminated.
Executive Order #7DD29 takes several emergency actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the Governor’s civil preparedness and public health declarations, including the following: additions to the definition of telehealth provider; additions to permissible out-of-state healthcare providers; participation in intern, resident physician or U.S. Medical Officer Candidate Training programs before permit issuance; participation in a resident physician assistant program before permit issuance; temporary suspension of physician assistant supervision restrictions; temporary suspension of the in-person supervision requirement for advanced practice registered nurses; provision of services by respiratory care therapist and respiratory care technician students; and suspension of continuing education requirement for healthcare providers.
Section 5 of Executive Order #7G,30 issued on March 21, 2020, provided that the provisions of Section 19a-906 of the Connecticut general statutes and any associated regulations, rules and policies regarding the delivery of telehealth are modified or suspended as follows:
- The definition of telehealth in Section 19a-906(a)(11) is modified to provide that telehealth providers that are Medicaid-enrolled providers providing covered telehealth services to established patients who are Medicaid recipients, or telehealth providers that are in-network providers for commercial fully insured health insurance providing covered telehealth services to patients, may engage in telehealth through the use of audio-only telephone.
- The requirements of Section 19a-906(a)(12) for the licensure, certification or registration of telehealth providers are suspended for such telehealth providers that are Medicaid-enrolled providers or in-network providers for commercial fully insured health insurance providing telehealth services to patients, in accordance with any related orders issued by the Commissioner of Public Health.
- The requirement in Section 19a-906(f) that the provision of telehealth services and health records maintained and disclosed as part of a telehealth interaction shall comply with the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 P.L.104-191, as amended from time to time (HIPAA), is modified to permit telehealth providers that are Medicaid-enrolled providers or in-network providers for commercial fully insured health insurance providing telehealth services to patients to utilize additional information and communication technologies consistent and in accordance with any direction, modification or revision of requirements for HIPAA compliance as related to telehealth remote communications as directed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Notwithstanding provisions 1–3 above, a provider, who elects to provide telehealth services for a patient who is not a Medicaid beneficiary or a member covered by a fully insured commercial plan, may engage in telehealth services as defined in such paragraphs for such patient, provided that any provider engaging in telehealth services under this section must, before engaging in such services, determine whether a patient is covered by a health plan other than Medicaid or a fully insured commercial plan and whether such plan provides coverage for such telehealth services. A provider who receives payment under such health plan shall not bill a patient for any additional charges beyond the reimbursement received under such health plan. A provider who determines that payment or coverage for telehealth services as described in this Order is not available under a health plan other than Medicaid or a fully insured commercial plan or who determines a patient is uninsured shall accept as reimbursement for any telehealth service as payment in full the amount that Medicare reimburses for such service, provided that if the provider determines that the patient is uninsured or otherwise unable to pay for such services, the provider shall offer financial assistance, if such provider is otherwise required to provide financial assistance under state or federal law.
- Any related regulatory requirement that any telehealth services described in this Order be provided from a provider’s licensed facility is hereby waived.
Executive Order #7FF31 provides for additional flexibility for Medicaid-enrolled providers to perform telehealth through audio-only methods for new patients. Connecticut general statutes and any associated regulations, rules and policies regarding the delivery of telehealth are further modified to expand the definition of telehealth. This permits telehealth providers, who are Medicaid-enrolled providers providing covered telehealth services to “new or established patients” who are Medicaid recipients, to engage in telehealth through the use of audio-only telephone.
Executive Order #7SS32 provides for the creation of a temporary nurse aide position. Connecticut general statutes are modified to include a definition of temporary nurse aide as an individual providing nursing or nursing-related services to residents in a chronic and convalescent nursing home or rest home, in accordance with and under the direction of a licensed nurse. This healthcare professional will have had eight hours of online training without enhanced infection control skills and will be ineligible to work with patients who test positive for COVID-19. This definition does not include an individual who is a health professional otherwise licensed or certified by the Department of Public Health or who volunteers to provide such services without monetary compensation.
The Virginia General Assembly concluded their session in April. All government response has been through executive orders from Governor Ralph Northam.
Executive Order #5133 provides a declaration of state of emergency due to COVID-19.
Executive Order #5734 gives medical professionals with a valid license to practice in another state the ability to practice in Virginia.
Executive Order #6035 gives liability protection for healthcare work practiced in response to COVID-19. The Order clarifies that healthcare providers responding to a public health disaster by delivering healthcare are immune from civil liability for any injury or wrongful death caused by abandonment due to a state of emergency in which the provider is unable to administer requisite care.
Virginia code already provides for this immunity, but the Order clarifies that the section of code applies to healthcare workers responding to COVID-19.
Although the Order offers protections for healthcare workers and first responders in cases of emergency, nothing in the code or Order prevents liability in the case of gross negligence or willful misconduct.
The West Virginia Legislature meets for approximately 60 days at the start of each calendar year. Therefore, this year’s session concluded before the full onset of COVID-19. Since then, the State’s government response has been through the executive branch, including the following executive orders signed by Governor Jim Justice.
Executive Order #16-2036 suspended all elective medical procedures.
Executive Order #28-2037 outlined the process for hospitals to resume more urgent elective medical procedures.
Executive Order #30-2038 allowed healthcare providers to resume all operations and procedures, including elective procedures under the guidelines established in the Governor’s reopening plan.
Directives and Protocols
Governor John Carney has issued directives and protocols39 for COVID-19 initiatives through the public health state of emergency declaration. The declaration was extended three times, modified 22 times as of June 19, 2020, and remains in effect.
- All vulnerable individuals, including those at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, are strongly advised to continue to shelter in place. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where social distancing is not practical, they could carry COVID-19 home. Precautions should be taken to isolate oneself from vulnerable individuals.
- All Title 24 statutory requirements that patients present in-person before telemedicine services may be provided are suspended. Further, requirements that the patient must be present in Delaware at the time the telemedicine services are provided are suspended, as long as the patient is a Delaware resident. Any out-of-state healthcare provider who would be permitted to provide telemedicine services in Delaware if they were licensed under Title 24 may provide telemedicine services to a Delaware resident if the healthcare provider has an active license in another jurisdiction. The Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline’s Regulation 19 regarding restrictions on the use of telemedicine is suspended.
- All COVID-19 testing shall be made available to those persons who meet the criteria for such testing as established and modified from time to time, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All healthcare providers, facilities and entities that decide to offer testing shall make that testing available to any person presenting at the testing site who meets the CDC criteria without regard to that person’s ability to pay, type of health insurance or participation in any particular provider network. Healthcare providers shall provide testing to the extent that testing costs are not covered by the payments by individuals and health insurance carriers and will be covered by Delaware’s Healthcare Connection Program.
- All hospitals, nursing and residential facilities and ambulatory healthcare services in Delaware, as categorized by the Division of Small Business, shall comply with the Public Health Authority’s guidance for the use of personal protective equipment. Long-term care facilities must continue to provide 3.28 hours of direct care per resident per day.
- Requirements for the provision of telemedicine and telehealth under Title 24 of the Delaware Code that require audio and visual technology are suspended, which will allow the use of non-smart phone or landline connections.
- All healthcare providers who test for COVID-19 shall comply with the Public Health Authority’s guidance for the use of such tests. Further, all such providers must provide each patient tested with educational materials developed by the Public Health Authority.
- Any individual who has, at any time, held an active license to practice medicine in any U.S. jurisdiction, which is now inactive, expired or lapsed, may be activated to provide healthcare services on a volunteer basis in Delaware if the following conditions are met: 1) The individual’s license was active and in good standing for the duration of the five-year period before the date the license went inactive, expired or lapsed; 2) the individual’s scope of practice will be limited to primary care services; and 3) the hospital that will use the individual’s services has provided training appropriate for the tasks to be performed.
At this point in time, Maryland has not passed any legislation related to COVID-19 legislation. All government response has been through executive orders and proclamations. On March 5, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan, through proclamation, declared a state of emergency and the existence of a catastrophic health emergency, COVID-19.40
Pursuant to the Executive Order of March 16, 2020,41 relating to various healthcare matters and in accordance with the guidance issued by Maryland Department of Health, all licensed hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers and all other licensed healthcare facilities shall cease all elective and non-urgent medical procedures effective at 5 p.m., March 24, 2020, and not provide any such procedures for the duration of the catastrophic health emergency.
Additionally, at this same date and time, all healthcare providers, licensed, certified or otherwise authorized under the Health Occupations Article, shall perform only medical procedures that are critically necessary for the maintenance of health for a patient. All elective and non-urgent medical procedures and appointments shall cease and shall not be performed for the duration of the catastrophic health emergency.
On May 6, 2020, Governor Hogan lifted the Order and directed the Maryland Department of Health to issue guidance that allows hospitals and licensed healthcare providers to resume elective and medical procedures. Providers must exercise their independent professional judgment in determining what procedures are appropriate to perform, which appointments should occur and which patients to see in light of widespread COVID-19 community transmission. All healthcare workers, patients and others must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and physical distancing requirements must be strictly maintained in all settings where people must wait, to minimize direct contact between individuals.42