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On March 30, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-30 relaxing the scope of practice laws to give hospitals and other health-care facilities the flexibility needed to permit an “all hands on deck” approach to combat the COVID-19 crisis. The order lift restrictions for certain health professionals who are working at their place of employment, are necessary to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and are performing tasks appropriate to their education, training, and experienced as determined by their supervisor. Further, the order allows facilities to use students to work in any capacity that is appropriate as determined by the facility. Specifically, the order provides:

  • Physician assistants can provide services without a written practice agreement with a physician.
  • Advanced practical nurses and nurse anesthetists may provide services without physician supervision.
  • Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses may collect throat or nasopharyngeal swabs to test for COVID-19.
  • Licensed practical nurses may provide medical services without supervision from a registered nurse.

The order also provides some peace of mind for those on the front-line battling the coronavirus by providing immunity from civil liability pursuant to MCL 30.411.  That statute provides that during a state of emergency declared by the governor, health-care providers who provide services “at the request of a state official” are immune from civil liability. Per the order, health-care providers working on the COVID-19 emergency are working “at the request of a state official.”  Neither the order nor the statute immunizes health-care providers from liability for gross negligence.

While we believe in holding hospitals and other healthcare providers accountable when they fail to consider the safety of patients, this order provides health care facilities with the flexibility needed to combat the coronavirus as it wreaks havoc on our hospital systems. When you need to speak with a qualified attorney about a medical malpractice claim, we can help answer your questions and advocate for your needs.

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