Cuomo Seeks to Increase Number of NYS Healthcare Workers

March 24, 2020 | Health Services

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued a number of Executive Orders aimed at temporarily facilitating the ability of healthcare professionals to practice in New York State and aid hospitals in the care and treatment of coronavirus patients.

Executive Order No. 202.5 authorizes the temporary suspension and modification of certain provisions of the state’s laws and regulations to allow physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners who are in current good standing in any state in the U.S. to practice in New York State without civil or criminal penalty related to lack of licensure. The Executive Order also allows physicians in current good standing and licensed, but not registered, in New York State to practice medicine in the state without civil or criminal penalty related to lack of registration.

In addition, Gov. Cuomo has been directly soliciting healthcare professionals from all forms of practice to supplement hospital capacity on a temporary basis to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients, including those that may need to be intubated. This push to increase the hospital workforce is another measure, along with the Executive Orders, aimed at ramping up professional participation in the fight against COVID-19.

In addition to Executive Orders to increase the number of active healthcare professionals, Gov. Cuomo has also eased up the state’s professional scope of practice rules as they relate to COVID-19. Executive Order No. 202.1 limits the requirement for patient-specific physician or certified nurse practitioner (CNP) orders for certain COVID-19 related tasks by temporarily permitting physicians and CNPs to issue a non-patient specific regimen to nurses or any such other persons authorized by law or by executive order to collect throat or nasopharyngeal swab specimens from individuals suspected of having a COVID-19 infection, for purposes of testing, or to perform such other tasks as may be necessary to provide care for individuals diagnosed or suspected of having a COVID-19 infection.

Executive Order No. 202 also temporarily permits unlicensed individuals, upon completion of training deemed adequate by the Commissioner of Health, to collect for testing throat or nasopharyngeal swab specimens from individuals suspected of being infected with COVID-19 and, to the extent necessary, permit non-nursing staff to perform tasks under the supervision of a nurse, providing services which would otherwise be limited to the scope of practice of a licensed or registered nurse. Executive Order No. 202 also allows the performance of testing for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by individuals who meet the federal requirements for high-complexity testing.

These temporary measures will hopefully increase New York State’s healthcare workforce to combat the current pandemic.

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  • Ashley (Osadon) Algazi

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