Northam signs order to expand health care workforce

Several new policies were implemented Friday to bolster Virginia’s health care workforce and help with the COVID-19 response.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed Executive Order Fifty-Seven, days after calling for additional medical and non-medical volunteers as part of a statewide effort to combat novel coronavirus. It is estimated that up to 30,000 additional workers are needed in Virginia’s hospitals, long-term care facilities, and public health departments, should a surge occur.

“While we are seeing promising signs in our ongoing fight against COVID-19, we must continue to prepare for all scenarios, and that includes making sure we have to the necessary staff to confront a potential medical surge,”  Northam said. “This pandemic is placing extraordinary demands on our doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners, and these policies will enable us to expand our health care workforce so more trained medical professionals can step in and help.”

The order adds physician offices and other health care facilities to the section in Executive Order Fifty-Two allowing hospitals, nursing facilities, and dialysis facilities to have out-of-state licensees provide in-state care. It allows Virginia-licensed nurse practitioners with two or more years of clinical experience to practice without a collaborative agreement. It provides additional flexibility to hospitals in the supervision of interns, residents, and fellows, and allows hospitals to use fourth year medical students in the provision of care.

Executive Order Fifty-Seven also allows for expanded use of telehealth. Physicians with licenses from another state who have current Virginia patients may continue to treat their patients via telehealth, which will help ensure Virginians who live in border communities do not have to travel out-of-state for care.

The order is in effect through June 10, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order. The full text of Executive Order Fifty-Seven is available here.

For assistance, resources from across state government, and up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

 

 

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