Tennessee Governor Issues Executive Order Extending Previous Orders Impacting Health Care Providers and Facilities

Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C.

Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C.On May 12, 2020, Gov. Bill Lee issued Executive Order No. 36, which is designed to facilitate the incremental reopening of Tennessee businesses. The Order acknowledges that COVID-19 remains present in communities throughout the state and, among other things, provides for continued flexibility for health care providers and facilities to respond to the ongoing demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. In regards to health care providers and facilities, the Order extends provisions previously published in Executive Orders No. 15, 20, 24, 28, and 32. 

A summary of the key extended provisions impacting health care providers and facilities follows:

  • Activation of the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan – The Commissioner of Health is directed to implement the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP) and all applicable annexes to coordinate the State’s response to COVID-19.
  • Out-of-State Health Care Providers – The Commissioner of Health may authorize out-of-state licensed health care providers to practice in Tennessee so long as the provider is assisting with the medical response to COVID-19.
  • 90-day Supply of Prescriptions – Pharmacists may dispense up to a 90-day supply of maintenance prescriptions without additional authorization.
  • Home Health Services – Health care professionals are authorized to provide localized treatment of patients in temporary residences.
  • Renewing Health Care Licenses, Certificates, and Registrations – Deadlines to renew health care licenses, certificates, and registrations that fall between March 12 and May 31, 2020, are extended until August 31, 2020.
  • Health Care License Applications – The application fee deadline for all health care license applications submitted to the Department of Health between March 12 and May 31, 2020, is extended to June 30, 2020. Notarization requirements are temporarily suspended.
  • Retired Medical Professionals – Retired medical professionals may be granted a license, certificate, or registration to practice without demonstrating continued competency or submitting to an interview before a licensing board, so long as the individual satisfies all other requirements for the applicable licensure, certification, or registration.
  • Continuing Education Requirements Suspended – Continuing education requirements for health care professionals are temporarily suspended.
  • Inspections and Investigations – Laboratory, health care licensing, health care facility, and pharmaceutical facility inspections and investigations, as well as pain management clinics’ initial and routine inspections, are temporarily suspended.
  • Dentistry Licensing Requirements – The dentistry licensure requirement to complete a live human examination is temporarily suspended. The Tennessee Board of Dentistry is also authorized to modify its licensing procedure.
  • Memorandums of Understanding – Any memorandum of understanding entered into by the State’s Department of Health regarding access to protected health information is deemed to be an emergency order.
  • Nursing Graduates – The Commissioner of Health may authorize nursing graduates who have not yet taken the NCLEX to practice nursing under the supervision of a registered nurse.
  • Autopsies –  Autopsies may be performed at facilities deemed adequate by the State Chief Medical Examiner, even if not accredited by the National Association of Medical Examiners.
  • Remote Processing of Prescriptions – Pharmacy technicians and pharmacists are authorized to complete computer-based processing of prescriptions at remote locations.
  • Pharmacy Technician Supervision – The restriction on the number of pharmacy technicians a pharmacist is allowed to supervise at any one time is temporarily suspended.
  • Biology and Chemistry Degree Holders – Individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in biology or chemistry may temporarily work without a license in a licensed medical laboratory under the supervision of a medical laboratory director.
  • Remote Monitoring of Medical Laboratories – Medical laboratory directors are temporarily authorized to suspend periodic onsite visits to facilities so long as the director can maintain and exercise oversight remotely.
  • Laboratory Personnel May Work Remotely – Medical laboratory personnel may review electronic data and report laboratory results remotely so long as working under the supervision of a laboratory director.
  • Increase in Hospital Beds – Hospitals are authorized to increase their licensed hospital beds or temporarily establish hospital and diagnostic services at additional locations for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
  • Emergency Medical Services – Regarding emergency medical services, (a) inspections of ambulance and emergency medical services are temporarily suspended; (b) EMS service and vehicle licenses and certificates of good standing that expire between March 12 and May 18, 2020, are extended for three months from their expiration date; (c) EMS personnel licenses and certificates of good standing that expire between March 12 and May 18, 2020, are extended for three months from their expiration date; and (d) emergency medical technician students, advanced emergency medical technician students, and paramedic students who have completed their board-approved written exam may practice on a level commensurate with the level of examination that the student has successfully completed so long as supervised by a licensee in the same field at or above the level of the student.
  • Alternative Testing Sites – Testing, diagnosis, treatment, and containment of COVID-19 may occur at alternate testing sites without prior approval by the Medical Laboratory Board, provided that the Board is notified of any such alternative testing sites.
  • Temporary Quarantine and Isolation Facilities – The requirements for prior approval and review of plans for the construction of temporary quarantine and isolation facilities are waived, provided that any such structure will be inspected for safety as necessary.
  • Price Gouging – The prohibition charging a price on medical and emergency supplies grossly in excess of the price charged for the same or similar goods or services in the usual course of business is extended until June 2, 2020.

Unless otherwise stated above, earlier extended, or terminated by Gov. Bill Lee, these provisions remain in effect until June 30, 2020.

Read Executive Order 36.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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