Baker-Polito Administration Announces Changes To Expedite Health Care Licensing, Increase Support For Local Boards Of Health And Small Businesses

The Baker-Polito Administration announced further actions to support residents, health care providers, and small businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak, including several emergency orders expediting the onboarding process of more licensed health care professionals.

The Administration is also distributing an initial $5 million in emergency funding to local boards of health throughout the Commonwealth, with more funding to be distributed soon. The Administration also took additional steps to support small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak by formally seeking relief from the Small Business Administration.

Supporting Expedited Licensing Of Health Care Professionals: The Administration today announced four new emergency orders to expedite the onboarding of more licensed health care professionals during the COVID-19 emergency. Changes as a result of these orders include:

  • Licenses of physicians who have retired within the last year, without complaints at the time of retirement and in good standing, may be reactivated, and licenses that would otherwise be up for renewal may be extended for 90 days after the end of the public health emergency.
  • Providers in good standing licensed in other states may obtain emergency licenses to practice in person or through telemedicine.
  • The ability of residents to provide services, subject to appropriate supervision, will also be expanded.
  • Assures continuity of care for college and university students, licenses for nurses, pharmacists and physician assistants that would otherwise be up for renewal for 90 days after the end of the public health emergency may be extended, and no nurse, social worker, psychologist or medical doctor may be prohibited from providing telehealth services across state lines to college or university students who have returned home.
  • Recognizing the crucial need for sufficient EMS capacity during this public health emergency, these orders adjust minimum standards for ambulance staffing to ensure sufficient availability and capacity of EMS services.
  • Expands telehealth by facilitating telehealth services across state lines.

Read the orders here:

Governor’s Order #1: Registration of Health Care Professionals

Governor’s Order #2: Expanded Access to Physician Services

DPH Order #1: Credentialing and Staffing Order

DPH Order #2: EMS Care Order

Emergency Funds For Local Boards Of Public Health: The Administration today is distributing an initial $5 million emergency funding to address immediate needs of the Commonwealth’s community health boards, with more funding to be distributed soon. This additional funding will support COVID-19 public health emergency resources in cities and towns, and the Baker-Polito Administration will execute emergency contracts with cities and health districts that have sufficient capacity to receive and utilize funding.

Small Business Administration Declaration: Building on yesterday’s announcement of a $10 million emergency loan fund for small businesses, Governor Baker today formally requested that the federal Small Business Administration issue a declaration of economic injury for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which would make it possible for impacted business owners to obtain low-interest loans.

The administration will continue to update the public on further developments and individuals are encouraged to consult both the Department of Public Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites for the most up to date information.

The latest information and guidance regarding COVID-19 is always available at mass.gov/COVID19.

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