The Current State of Play: States Act with Stay at Home Orders and Relaxation of Licensure Requirements for Healthcare Providers

June 1, 2020
Firm Publication

This content was originally published on March 25, 2020. It was last updated as of Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. CST. For questions regarding the rules, regulations, executive orders and similar pronouncements of a particular state or territory following this date, please contact a member of your Bass, Berry & Sims legal team.

In the advent of the COVID-19 public health emergency, many states acted to implement stay at home orders for their residents, which include the closing of non-essential businesses and services. States generally deferred to federal guidance about which businesses should be deemed “essential” during the pandemic; this guidance is discussed in detail here. An even larger number of states acted quickly to relax licensure requirements for healthcare professionals across state lines. At this time, states have taken a gradual approach to reopening for business.

Stay at Home Orders and Opening for Business

As of the date of this publication, many state-level “stay at home” orders have expired or been rescinded. Many limitations that were imposed on non-essential medical services and procedures at the outset of COVID-19 have been lifted, although telehealth modalities are still encouraged. For a detailed list of the state-by-state guidance, please click here. We will continue to monitor state guidance and provide updates when available.

Our Healthcare Practice Group is monitoring measures being implemented at the federal level that limit non-essential healthcare services and procedures, as discussedĀ here. Please contact the authors of this content with any questions about how healthcare providers should respond to these federal and state-level measures and prepare to resume business in the COVID-19 environment.

Relaxation of Licensure Requirements

The states, territories and District of Columbia have implemented the relaxation of licensure requirements to allow healthcare professionals to practice across state lines or return from retirement. Nearly all states and territories have relaxed in-state licensure and other requirements, allowing out-of-state providers to practice telemedicine in the state. Summaries of state-level waivers have been prepared by the Federation of State Medical Boards for telehealth requirements, physician licensure requirements, and inactive/retired licensees in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about waivers issued at the federal level for requirements having broad applicability is available here.

We have dedicated a portion of ourĀ COVID-19 Response website page to monitor declarations, executive orders and other guidance on the COVID-19 public health emergency at the state level. In the meantime, for guidance with navigating state rules and recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact the authors of this content or any other attorney in our Healthcare Practice Group.