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Health Care Staffing Emergency Extended

Last week, Governor Hochul extended her declaration of a Statewide Disaster Emergency Due to Healthcare Staffing Shortages through April 30, 2022. Her executive order (EO), EO 4.7, extended the previously granted regulatory flexibilities to help health care facilities and agencies to appropriately staff their services, but did not extend the relief from nursing home minimum staffing and spending requirements. An article about the implementation of the nursing home minimum staffing and direct care spending requirements is here

Members should note that EO 4.7 also extends EOs 4, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, and 4.6. The text of EO 4.7 is available here

EO 4.7 continues the workforce flexibilities issued earlier in EOs 4 and 4.1, including:

  • Allowing out-of-state and out-of-country health care workers, including physicians, registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), midwives, clinical nurse specialists, licensed master social workers (LMSWs), and licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), to practice in New York;
  • Waiving re-registration fees, creating an expedited re-registration process, and eliminating barriers to re-enter the workforce for retirees;
  • Allowing practitioners to work or volunteer in other facilities;
  • Allowing physician visits in nursing homes to be done using telemedicine;
  • Ensuring removal of barriers for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and Advanced EMTs to practice and assist in additional settings, allowing basic EMTs to vaccinate and test for COVID-19, extending all EMS providers' certification period by one year, modifying certification requirements, and permitting out-of-state providers to operate in the New York State EMS System;
  • Allowing New York State-licensed providers without current registrations to practice without penalty for lack of registration;
  • Allowing graduates of State Education Department (SED)-registered programs (NP, Lab, RN, LPN) to practice in a hospital or nursing home for 180 days following graduation;
  • Providing flexibilities for clinical labs to increase testing capacity;
  • Allowing non-licensed, non-nursing staff with applicable training and supervision to:
    • collect throat, nasal, or nasopharyngeal swab specimens from individuals suspected of being infected by COVID-19 or influenza for purposes of testing
    • collect blood specimens for diagnosis of acute or past COVID-19
    • administer vaccinations against COVID-19 or influenza, pursuant to the most recent recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)
    • perform tasks under the supervision of a nurse, otherwise limited to the scope of practice of an LPN/RN, to provide care to individuals
  • Permitting RNs to order the collection of throat or nasopharyngeal swab specimens from individuals suspected of being infected by COVID-19 for purposes of testing;
  • Expanding nurse-initiated protocols including:
    • Electrocardiograms (EKGs) for signs/symptoms of acute coronary syndrome
    • Blood glucose testing for altered mental status
    • Labs/intravenous (IV) lines for potential sepsis

Previous Intelligence articles on EOs 4 and 4.1 provide further detail.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, and Meg Everett, meverett@leadingageny.org