On April 26, 2020 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order extending the suspension of scope of practice laws for Michigan hospitals and health care providers. See EO 2020-61. Gov. Whitmer first ordered temporary relief from certain restrictions and requirements governing the provision of medical services on March 29, 2020. See EO 2020-30.
The original order temporarily suspended restrictions relating to the scope of practice, supervision, and delegation of health care professionals. Notably, the following practices are permitted during the COVID-19 emergency:
- Physician assistants may provide medical services appropriate to their training, education and experience without a written practice agreement with a physician.
- Advanced practice registered nurses may provide medical services appropriate to their training, education and experience without physician supervision.
- Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses may order throat or nasal swab tests for individuals suspected of being infected by COVID-19.
- Pharmacists may provide care for routine health care, chronic disease or similar conditions appropriate to their training, education and experience without physician supervision.
Additionally, licensed health care professionals or designated health care facilities that provide services to combat COVID-19 are not liable for injuries sustained in relation to those services, unless such injuries are the result of gross negligence.
The new order extends the prior order’s duration and expands its scope. This order temporarily suspends certain licensing requirements for physicians, physician assistants, registered professional nurses, licensed practical nurses and respiratory therapists who: 1) are licensed in good standing in another country, 2) have at least five years practice experience, and 3) have practiced for at least one year in the last five years. These licensure requirements are extended as necessary to allow the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to issue an appropriate licensure that lasts for the duration of the emergency.
The new order is effective immediately and continues until the end of the declared states of emergency and disaster.