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

April 3, 2020
Firm Publication

This content was originally published on March 25, 2020. It was last updated as of Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. CST.

As we continue to live with the COVID-19 public health emergency, several states have acted over the course of the last week to implement stay at home orders for their residents, which include the closing of non-essential businesses and services.  States have 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 have acted quickly to relax licensure requirements for healthcare professionals and allow them to practice across state lines.

Stay at Home Orders and Other Measures

As of the date of this publication, all 50 states and many territories have implemented some type of “stay at home” orders, some states have placed limitations on non-essential medical services and procedures, and other states have implemented less restrictive measures. 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 discussed here.  Please contact the authors of this content or any member of our team with any questions about how healthcare providers should respond to these federal and state-level measures.

Relaxation of Licensure Requirements

  • The following states and the District of Columbia have implemented the relaxation of licensure requirements to allow healthcare professionals to practice across state lines: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
  • Delaware and Mississippi have issued guidance allowing out-of-state providers to practice telemedicine in the state.
  • Oklahoma has waived the requirement of a pre-existing physician-patient relationship prior to the implementation of telemedicine.

 As the nation braces for a spike in COVID-19 cases, other states are sure to follow suit in the coming days and weeks.  A summary of state-level waivers of licensure requirements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic is available has been prepared by the Federation of State Medical Boards and is available here.  More information about waivers issued at the federal level for requirements having broad applicability is available here.

We have dedicated a portion of our COVID-19 Response website page to monitor declarations, executive orders and other guidance on the COVID-19 public health emergency at the state level. We will update this page on a daily basis as additional guidance is received 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.