Update: State Licensure Waivers to Expand Care for Coronavirus

Licensure Waivers
Cross Country Locums
March 24, 2020 03:04 AM (GMT-04:00)
Cross Country Locums News

If you’re an active or retired physician or Advanced Practitioner who would like to work locums, the president’s recent declaration of a National State of Emergency in response to COVID-19 may help you expand your reach in caring for patients during this crisis. Through the emergency declaration, the federal government has allowed for regulatory flexibility at the state level through waivers designed to help providers expand care.

According to CMS, states may “temporarily waive requirements that physicians and other health care professionals be licensed in the state in which they are providing services, so long as they have an equivalent licensing in another state.”

So, if you are willing to come out of retirement or help across state lines during the coronavirus outbreak, these waivers may open the door for you. And if you’re a healthcare administrator, this may expand your access to providers.

State Licensure Waiver Updates

Our compliance department is closely following each state for waivers regarding licensure. As of March 18, 2020, nearly 20 states have implemented emergency declarations which impact licensure. Visit the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) COVID-19 page and scroll down to view the most recent pdf of State Emergency Declarations and Licensing Waivers.

Texas Disaster Waivers

Texas is just one example of a state that has implemented extensive waivers during the crisis. A recent press release announced that Governor Greg Abbott “directed the Texas Medical Board (TMB) and the Texas Board of Nursing (TBN) to fast-track the temporary licensing of out-of-state physicians, physician assistants, certain retired physicians, nurses, and other license types to assist in Texas' response to COVID-19.” Here are the details:

Texas COVID-19 Disaster – Licensing for Out-of-State Providers

“Pursuant to Title 22, Chapter 172.20 and 172.21 of the Texas Administrative Code, the Texas Medical Board will allow out-of-state physicians to obtain a Texas limited emergency license or hospital-to-hospital credentialing for no more than thirty (30) days from the date the physician is licensed or until the disaster declaration has been withdrawn or ended, whichever is longer.  Other types of out of state health care professionals regulated by TMB may also receive a temporary license under these rules.”

Texas COVID-19 Disaster – Hospital-to-Hospital Credentialing

“A physician who holds a full, unlimited and unrestricted license to practice medicine in another U.S. state, territory or district and has unrestricted hospital credentials and privileges in any U.S. state, territory or district may practice medicine at a hospital that is licensed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission upon the following terms and conditions being met:

(A) the licensed Texas hospital shall verify all physician credentials and privileges;

(B) the licensed Texas hospital shall keep a list of all physicians coming to practice and shall provide this list to the Board within ten (10) days of each physician starting practice at the licensed Texas hospital; and

(C) the licensed Texas hospital shall also provide the Board a list of when each physician has stopped practicing medicine in Texas under this section within ten (10) days after each physician has stopped practicing medicine under this section.”

COVID-19 Disaster Response – Retired Physicians Returning to Active Status

“Texas resident retired physicians seeking a return to active status whose license has been placed on official retired status for less than two years are encouraged to apply for licensure to help during the pendency of this disaster.”

Patient Care – Our Primary Concern

According to Di Hall, CPCS, CPMSM, FMSP, Cross Country Locums Senior Director of Compliance and Quality Improvement, “Patient care is our primary concern and we want to ensure that we have the best information to provide a positive impact on matching physicians, advanced practitioners and other independent clinical contractors with our hospital- and community-based clients. We have a duty, now more than ever, to care for all.”

The situation is continually evolving, we will share information as it becomes available. In the meantime, speak with one of our team members to see how and where you can help. Contact us.

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