Advance Notice: Briefs

Gov. allows more types of health workers to treat COVID-19 patients

By: - March 30, 2020 3:56 pm

Joe DiSano photo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed Executive Order 2020-30, which relaxes scope of practice laws to give hospitals and other health care facilities the flexibility they need to successfully deploy qualified physician assistants, nurses and other health care providers to combat COVID-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus. 

“Responding effectively to the urgent and steep demands created by the COVID-19 pandemic will require the help of as many health care professionals as possible,” the order states.

Under the order, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) can treat patients without the supervision of a licensed physician. In addition, health care students can work alongside medical professionals as “respiratory therapist extenders” to assist them in operating ventilators.

Doctors group calls for national ‘shelter in place’ order, asks Michigan business groups for support

The order also reinforces an existing law that protects hospitals and health care workers from liability for taking necessary steps to protect Michiganders during an emergency.

“Michigan’s dedicated health care professionals continue putting their lives on the line every day during this unprecedented crisis, and we must do everything we can to empower them to do their jobs,” said Whitmer. “This executive order temporarily sets aside some existing rules to allow qualified physician assistants, nurses and other health care providers to treat COVID-19 patients and help slow the spread of this virus in every corner of our state.”

Additionally, Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) launched a new website over the weekend that allows trained medical professionals to register as volunteers to assist hospitals in fighting COVID-19.

Others can use the site to find out how they can help in their local communities; give blood; donate money or needed medical supplies; or assist public health officials in tracking infections.

Working through a pandemic: Many health care workers face health risks, can’t take time off

Meanwhile, health care workers in Michigan have been challenged with working through the state’s COVID-19 outbreak with a shortage of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) like N95 masks, as reported by the Advance

On Saturday, the state received more than 112,000 N95 masks in a shipment from the strategic national stockpile to fight COVID-19.

In a tweet that morning, Whitmer said that 8,000 more masks were on their way and said it was, “Great news for our health care workers. We’ll keep working hard along with FEMA and the White House to get more of the PPE we need to keep Michiganders safe.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Madeline Ciak
Madeline Ciak

Madeline Ciak is a former Michigan Advance reporter. She’s a University of Michigan-Flint graduate and previously worked as a digital media manager at NBC25/FOX66 in Flint and a weekend producer at ABC12.