Late yesterday, Governor Lee conducted his daily 3:00 Press Conference and Update regarding COVID-19 and discussed his just released Executive Order #15. The order is extensive and is heavily focused on the health care industry. Many provisions in statutes and rules are suspended along other necessary measures to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19.
The order, among other things, waives some health care Tennessee licensure requirements, expands scope of practice for some providers without additional supervision, waives some CON requirements for expansion of hospital beds, allows pharmacists to fill 90 day maintenance prescriptions without proper authorization, urges insurance companies to cover telemedicine for COVID19, and waives the renewal or expiration of driver licenses for 6 months. More specifically, it does the following:
- Section 2 – Provides the Commissioner of Health the authority to permit health care professionals living in another state to practice in TN without a TN license. Forms will be posted on the Department’s website.
- Section 3 – Permits pharmacists to dispense maintenance prescriptions without authorization for up to 90 day for maintenance purposes, as necessary to respond to and prevent the spread of COVID-19. State restrictions on opioid prescriptions remain in place.
- Section 4 – Permits home health visits by professionals who do not meet TN licensing requirements. (Necessary as a result of Section 2).
- Section 5 – Relieves nurse practitioners that have certificates of fitness from (1) certain filing requirements with the Board of Nursing, (2) chart review requirements, and (3) requirements for physician visits to remote sites.
- Section 6 – Relieves physician assistants from same requirements summarized in Section 5.
- Section 7 – Extends expiration date of facility and health care professional licenses for 3 months.
- Section 8 – Permits pharmacists and pharmacy techs to process prescriptions remotely including from residences, subject to HIPAA compliance. This section does not alter regulation of pharmacy facility, recordkeeping or medication storage or dispensing.
- Section 9 – Permits the Commissioner of Health to allow unlicensed individuals to work as medical lab technologists for coronavirus research, provided the individuals are employed by a medical laboratory and working under the supervision of the medical laboratory director, and further provided the individuals are postdoctoral fellows in a biological science.
- Section 10 – Suspends CON requirements for hospitals to add new beds or diagnostic facilities in order to respond to COVID-19.
- Section 11 – Permits the addition of testing sites for COVID-19 without prior approval by the Medical Laboratory Board; laboratories must notify the Board of alternate sites.
- Section 12 – Permits construction of temporary structures in response to COVID-19 without plans review; structures will be subject to safety inspections.
- Section 38 – Permits telemedicine services by pain management clinics and for nonmalignant chronic pain.
We will provide another update as the Governor continues to provide briefings.