Earlier this week Governor Lee extended Executive Orders Nos. 36 and 37, which serve to allow the state government to continue to operate in a State of Emergency during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Parts of Executive Order No. 36 relax certain guidelines for healthcare providers to allow providers to continue to focus on treating patients as Tennessee seeks to continue to flatten the curve. The Order does the following:
- Continues to allow out-of-state healthcare providers to practice in Tennessee without first obtaining a Tennessee license;
- Pharmacists may dispense maintenance prescriptions for up to a 90-day supply without prior authorization;
- Relaxes the licensing requirements for home health care professions so that they may treat patients in temporary residences;
- Health care licenses, certificates and registrations that expire between March 12, 2020 – May 31, 2020 are extended until August 31, 2020. In other words, the holder of the license, certificate or registration will continue to legally operate without fines or penalties. Renewals received by the Tennessee Department of Health by August 31, 2020 will be considered timely. Additionally, the renewals will be good for twenty-four months;
- Healthcare license application fees due between March 12, 2020 and May 31, 2020 will be extended to June 30, 2020;
- Notarization is not required for healthcare licensure applications – they may just be signed and dated;
- Retired medical professionals can reenter the healthcare workforce without requiring the usual certifications and testing, “. . .provided that the individual satisfies all other requirements for licensure, certification or registration;”
- Suspension of:
- Continuing education requirements: “The Commissioner of Health shall reasonably extend the deadline for these requirements as necessary to respond to the effects of COVID-19;”
- Laboratory inspections “. . . to the extent necessary to allow laboratories to immediately being testing for COVID-19;”
- Department of Health’s inspections or investigations of a licensee except when “in the Department’s sole discretion, the public health, safety or welfare necessitates such inspection or investigation”;
- Inspections of pain management clinics applying for licensure;
- Inspections of pain management clinics that are scheduled every two years;
- Inspections of healthcare facilities including those applying for licensure;
- Inspections of medical laboratories;
- Inspections of pharmaceutical facilities (pharmacies, manufacturers, outsourcing facilities, oxygen suppliers or wholesalers/distributors and warehouses provided by a Third-Party Logistics Provider) including those applying for licensure;
- Nursing graduates may practice under supervision without having taken the NCLEX; and many other provisions unrelated to healthcare.
Order No. 36 may be found in its entirety here.
Executive Order No. 37 will extend the remote notarization and witnessing of certain legal documents goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on May 18, 2020 and remains in effect until 12:01 a.m. on June 30, 2020.
Post authored by Gloria D. Crawford