MIDLAND, Mich. — The Mackinac Center for Public Policy applauds Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to temporarily loosen government restrictions on medical workers, hospitals and care facilities, a move that may help to contain and treat patients affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The executive order greatly expedites the process for hospitals and other medical providers to expand their services, and it relaxes restrictions on certain medical professional’s flexibility to provide care.
Specifically, on a temporary basis, the order does the following:
Allows the state Department of Health and Human Services to “issue an emergency certificate of need to an applicant and defer strict compliance” with state health regulations. These “Certificate of Need” regulations have historically restricted access to certain medical services by requiring providers to get approval from a state board before expanding or modifying their services.
Allows the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to grant a waiver to state rules that previously limited the number of hospital beds and mobile health care facilities.
Allows certified nursing aides to treat patients when needed, with the same autonomy as certified nurses, without completing the required licensing exams. Nurses may also renew their licenses without having to complete continuing education requirements, and the hours worked while responding to COVID-19 will satisfy continuing education requirements for all medical licenses.
Loosens other government restrictions on workers who assist, coordinate, volunteer or feed patients.
In a separate order, the governor also expanded access to telemedicine, allowing patients to visit their doctor via webcam, thereby lightening the load at health facilities. These directives are in line with recommendations recently made by the Mackinac Center.
“Allowing health care providers greater flexibility and creativity to meet new demands is a critical step to ensure that more Michiganders receive care,” said Lindsay Killen, vice president of strategic outreach and communications at the Mackinac Center. “Gov. Whitmer’s actions to temporarily relieve these regulatory burdens – particularly CON, telehealth, and scope-of-practice restrictions – could have a significant impact on improving patient care during this time.”
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
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