News & Events

Tennessee Governor Lee Releases Executive Order No. 59 with Focus on Health Care

On August 28, 2020, Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order 59 which extends the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 crisis until September 30, 2020. To help facilitate ongoing targeted regulatory flexibility to respond to continuing effects of COVID-19, the order also extends certain health-care related provisions from Executive Order No. 36 until September 30, 2020. More specifically, Executive Order 59 does the following:

Out-Of-State Health Care Providers

  • Out-of-state health care providers may continue to practice in Tennessee if assisting in the medical response to COVID-19, including treating routine or other medical conditions.  (Section 2)

Retired Medical Professionals 

  • Retired medical professionals who have been out of practice may continue to practice without the usual requirements. (Section 7.3)

Suspension of Continuing Education Requirements

  • In-person and live continuing education requirements are suspended for health care professionals. (Section 7.4)


  • Laboratory inspections are suspended to allow for immediate COVID-19 testing.  (Section 7.5)
  • Inspections of health care facilities are suspended. (Section 7.9)
  • Inspections of medical laboratories are suspended. (Section 7.10)
  • Degree holders in science fields may work as laboratory personnel under supervision. (Section 9)

Health Care Licensing Inspection and Investigations

  • Health care licensing inspections and investigations are suspended to increase resources available to fight COVID-19 and to protect public health. (Section 7.6)

Medical Laboratories

  • Medical laboratory directors may monitor facilities remotely. (Section 9.1)
  • Medical laboratory personnel may work remotely. (Section 9.3)
  • Testing for COVID-19 may occur at more medical laboratories. (Section 11)


  • Live human examinations are suspended for dentistry applicants. (Section 7.13)

Nursing Graduates

  • Nursing graduates may practice under supervision without examination. (Section 7.16)


  • Pharmacists may process prescriptions remotely. (Section 8)
  • Each pharmacist may supervise additional pharmacy technicians. (Section 8.1)

Telehealth Services

  • The continued expansion of telemedicine access. (Section 38)
  • Telehealth services may continue to be provided by any provider licensed under Title 63, regardless of the provider’s authority to diagnose. (Section 38.1)
  • Licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselors may practice telemedicine. (Section 38.2)
  • Pre-license, post-degree mental or behavioral health professionals may provide mental telehealth services under supervision. (Section 9.2)

Quarantine and Isolation Facilities

  • Temporary quarantine and isolation facilities may be constructed. (Section 12)

Hospital Beds

  • The number of hospital beds may be increased for COVID-19 patients without a certificate of need. (Section 10)

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities

  • Inspection of mental health and substance abuse facilities and services are suspended. (Section 33)


  • TennCare policies are adjusted to prevent coverage disruptions. (Section 34)
  • TennCare may designate and reimburse certain nursing facilities, or units within certain nursing facilities, as “COVID-19 Skilled Nursing Facilities/Units”. (Section 34.1)
  • TennCare may implement additional acuity-based payments for Medicaid members in nursing facilities designated as “COVID-19 Skilled Nursing Facilities/Units”. (Section 34.2)

Unless expressly stated in this Executive Order No. 59, all other provisions of Executive Order No. 36 are presumed to have expired. We will continue to monitor this issue for updates.

The full text of Executive Order 59 can be found at: