Northam Calls For Healthcare Volunteers and Relaxes Regulations to Allow Additional Health Care

Governor Northam announced this week that the stay at home order will continue through June 10th and non essential businesses will remain closed until May 8. He has also called for medical volunteers earlier this week.

Governor Ralph Northam on April 15,  announced additional details of a statewide effort in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health’s Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) to recruit medical and non-medical volunteers in the fight against COVID-19.

The press release states, “It is estimated up to 30,000 volunteers are needed to provide support for the expected surge in hospitals and long-term care facilities throughout the Commonwealth.”

However number of cases have been dropping and with the current extension of the closure of non essential businesses moved to May 8 it is likely our numbers will continue to drop

The release concerning calls for volunteers states, “The Office of the Governor and the MRC are working with colleges and universities to reach out to students, especially those enrolled in health and medical degree programs. The administration is also reaching out to individuals who have recently filed for unemployment benefits and have relevant experience, and is coordinating with hospitals, health systems, and professional associations to help recruit their community members.”

On April 17 Northam announced New Actions to Expand Health Care Workforce

Unedited Press Release Below:

Governor Ralph Northam today signed Executive Order Fifty-Seven, implementing several new policies to bolster Virginia’s health care workforce to assist with the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response. This order comes days after the Governor called for additional medical and non-medical volunteers as part of a statewide effort to combat novel coronavirus. It is estimated that up to 30,000 additional workers are needed in Virginia’s hospitals, long-term care facilities, and public health departments, should a surge occur.

“While we are seeing promising signs in our ongoing fight against COVID-19, we must continue to prepare for all scenarios, and that includes making sure we have to the necessary staff to confront a potential medical surge,” said Governor Northam. “This pandemic is placing extraordinary demands on our doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners, and these policies will enable us to expand our health care workforce so more trained medical professionals can step in and help.”

The order adds physician offices and other health care facilities to the section in Executive Order Fifty-Two allowing hospitals, nursing facilities, and dialysis facilities to have out-of-state licensees provide in-state care. It allows Virginia-licensed nurse practitioners with two or more years of clinical experience to practice without a collaborative agreement. It provides additional flexibility to hospitals in the supervision of interns, residents, and fellows, and allows hospitals to use fourth year medical students in the provision of care.

Executive Order Fifty-Seven also allows for expanded use of telehealth. Physicians with licenses from another state who have current Virginia patients may continue to treat their patients via telehealth, which will help ensure Virginians who live in border communities do not have to travel out-of-state for care.

The order is in effect through June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order. The full text of Executive Order Fifty-Seven is available here.

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