Tag Archive for: COVID19

Since the first emergency orders signed by Governor Stitt, Oklahoma physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers have anticipated the emergency granting of some measure of statutory immunity to support care during the COVID-19 pandemic.  On April 20, the Governor amended Emergency Order 2020-13 but stopped short in filling the gap needed to support the healthcare system at this challenging time leaving the task to the legislature upon its return this month.

On May 6, the Senate approved S.B. 300 granting limited immunity to providers on the front lines of this epidemic.  The bill provides for civil immunity “…for any loss or harm to a person by an act or omission by the facility or provider that occurs during the COVID-19 public health emergency…” so long as the act or omission did not result from the provider’s or facility’s “willful or wanton misconduct” in providing the services.  The grant of immunity excludes immunity from liability for provision of services to people who do not have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses at the time the care was provided.  The grant of immunity expires on October 31, 2020, unless amended by the legislature.

The statute adopts the following definition of Health Care Providers from the Catastrophic Emergency Powers Act 63 O.S. §6104(6):

  • Physicians

  • Dentists

  • Pharmacists

  • Physician Assistants

  • Nurse Practitioners

  • Registered and Other Nurses

  • Paramedics

  • Laboratory Technicians

  • Ambulance and Emergency Medical Workers

The statute also adopts the following expansive definition of Health Care Facilities also from 63 O.S. §6104(5) of the Catastrophic Health Emergency Powers Act:

  • Hospitals

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities

  • Outpatient Facilities

  • Public Health Clinics and Centers

  • Dialysis Centers

  • Intermediate Care Facilities

  • Mental Health Centers

  • Residential Treatment Facilities

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities

  • Special Care Facilities

  • Medical Laboratories

  • Adult Day Care

These facilities, not an exclusive or complete list, may be proprietary or non-proprietary, non-federal buildings.  Further, property used in connection with such facilities may be included such as pharmacies, offices and office buildings for persons engaged in the health care professions, research facilities and laundry facilities.

The statute defines “Health care services” as those provided by a health care facility or provider, or by an individual working under the supervision of such a facility or provider, related to “…the diagnosis, assessment, prevention, treatment, aid, shelter, assistance, or care of illness, disease, injury or condition.”

In summary, the act provides for immunity for civil liability for loss or harm to a person with a suspect at or confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses caused by the provider or facility during the pandemic as long as the act or omission occurred during the course of treatment including decision-making, staffing, capacity of space of equipment in response to the epidemic and as long as the act or omission was not the result of the gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct of the provider or facility.  The statute do not grant such immunity to providers of services to individuals who do not have suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Announcement for all Licensed Healthcare Providers regarding Expiration of Licenses

On March 17, 2020, Governor Stitt issued Amended Executive Order 220-7 which provided additional responses to the current pandemic.  The Order applies to all 77 counties and positions state agencies and departments to respond to the emergency with new hires and purchases as necessary.  One portion of the order focuses on the providers in the front lines—physicians and nurses.  While there is much for health care providers to worry about—office closings, staff, patient access to providers, and safety—providers will likely not be thinking about the status of license applications or the need to renew them.  This executive order offers a grace period by providing the following guidance to providers with those state licensure issues:

Any medical professional who holds a license, certificate, or other permit issued by any state that is a party to the Emergency Management Compact evidencing the meeting of qualifications for the practice of certain medical services, as more particularly described below, shall be deemed licensed to practice in Oklahoma so long as this Order shall be in effect, subject to the following conditions:

    1. This shall only apply to Medical (MD) and Allied Licenses issued by the Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision, Licenses issued by State Board of Osteopathic Examiners, and Licenses and Certificates issued by the Board of Nursing, all three shall collectively be referred to as “Boards”;
    2. Any medical professional intending to practice in Oklahoma pursuant to this Order, hereinafter referred to as “Applicant,” shall first apply with and receive approval from appropriate Board;
    3. It is the responsibility of each Board to verify the license status of any applicant and, upon verification of good standing, shall issue a temporary license to practice within this State; and
    4. Any applicant licensed under this Order shall be subject to the oversight and jurisdiction of the licensing Board, which includes the ability of the Board to revoke said license and to initiate any administrative or civil proceeding related to any alleged misconduct of applicant.

All occupational licensed of this type shall be extended during the emergency and shall expire fourteen (14) days following the withdrawal or termination of Amended Executive Order 2002-07.

In addition, this Executive Order, supports The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Section 1135 Waiver in eliminating the current requirement that a preexisting patient relationship exist in order for treatment to continue via telehealth.