AARP asks Northam to extend capacity of healthcare workforce

aarpAARP Virginia has called upon Gov. Ralph Northam to take steps to increase the healthcare workforce, including waiving scope of practice requirements for advance practice registered nurses.

AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau sent a letter to Northam today, asking him to make changes to permit more healthcare providers to practice in Virginia.

“We greatly appreciate the important actions your administration has already taken in this area,” Dau wrote, asking Northam to take prompt action on the series of recommended actions outlined in a March 24 letter to governors from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dau urged Northam to adopt the following recommendations from HHS:

  • Waivers of Scope of Practice Requirements: During a pandemic, advance practice registered nurses (APRNs) can be critical front line health professionals – approving tests, signing death certificates, etc. The state should suspend physician contract requirements for all APRNs during the COVID-19 crisis to help ensure that patients benefit fully from the type of care and critical care APRNs can provide. As suggested by HHS, the state should temporarily suspend supervision or collaboration requirements, expand allowable provider activities for certain health care professionals, such as APRNs, Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants and others, and remove all restrictions on where these types of professionals can furnish care.
  • Signature-less Pharmaceutical Deliveries: During this time of recommended social distancing, the state should modify any laws or regulations to allow for signature-less deliveries of pharmaceuticals, which can help prevent contact between recipients and delivery personnel.

“In addition to the recommended actions in the HHS letter, AARP Virginia encourages the state to take other actions through executive order or other means to ensure that nurses are able to quickly and efficiently join the health care workforce at this crucial time,” Dau’s letter said.

He asked the governor to extend the temporary permits (also known as provisional licenses) for newly graduated nurses who are supervised by registered nurses for 6 to 12 months, because the capacity at testing centers for the nursing licensing exam has been limited due to social distancing requirements.

The current class of nursing students is unable to complete its clinical rotations due to coronavirus concerns, and the letter requests that nursing students be able to complete the requirements in other ways, such as online courses, simulations, remote access, webinars, and self-study.

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