COVID-19 Bulletin #33 - May 12, 2020
The Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) and the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) are working together to increase testing accessibility for intermediate care facilities and members of the Employment and Community First CHOICES program.
The first testing event will be held Friday, May 15 in Scott County, utilizing DIDD’s mobile clinic and nursing staff specializing in care of persons with disabilities. Based on this provider assistance, an estimated 12,500 tests will be conducted in the coming weeks to support Tennessee’s intellectual and developmental disability community.
More information on the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) is available here.
Stimulus Financial Accountability Group
The Stimulus Financial Accountability Group held its second meeting on Tuesday, May 12. As the state reviews federally permitted uses for the first round of CARES Act funding, we expect additional guidance from Congress that includes the potential to reverse course and allow for the backfill of Tennessee’s lost revenue.
While prudently managing state finances, Gov. Lee and the Stimulus Financial Accountability Group are focused on getting money back into the hands of Tennessee business owners, strengthening public health response, providing support for the unemployed and those negatively impacted by this crisis.
Executive Order Nos. 36 and 37
Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order Nos. 36 and 37, extending the state of emergency declaration from May 18, 2020 to June 30, 2020, in order to extend certain provisions facilitating the State’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Executive Order No. 36 consolidates provisions from Executive Order Nos. 15, 19, 20, 24, 28, and 32 into one order, while extending and in some cases expanding those provisions, and Executive Order No. 37 extends Executive Order No. 26. The extensions will ensure continued:
- Broad access to telehealth services;
- Increased opportunities for people to easily join the healthcare workforce;
- Easier access to unemployment benefits;
- Supply chain and price gouging protections;
- Extended deadlines and suspended inspection requirements to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact;
- Increased opportunities to work remotely where appropriate; and
- Ability to remotely notarize and witness legal documents through electronic means.
Provisions from prior Executive Orders that will not continue:
- Expanded scope of practice provisions for nurses and physician assistants. These provisions, which originally appeared in Executive Order Nos. 15 and 28, have served their purpose to flatten the curve in Tennessee. These provisions are not necessary to continue treating and containing COVID-19 at the current time; however, we will continue to monitor conditions to determine whether these provisions should be implemented again.
- Physical, occupational and speech therapy via telemedicine for workers’ compensation recipients are now reimbursable under federal guidelines, so the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation no longer needs an executive order to offer this benefit.
Amended provisions (in order of appearance)
- Health care licenses, certificates, and registrations are further extended until August 31, 2020. Increases the number of health care professionals and facilities that are eligible for an extension and increases the length of extensions until August 31, 2020.
- Health care license application fees are due June 30, 2020. Increases the number of initial applicants who are eligible for a fee suspension and delays the due date for application fees until June 30, 2020.
- Degree holders in science fields can work as laboratory personnel under supervision. Allows more qualified graduates to work in medical laboratories.
- Testing for COVID-19 can occur at more medical laboratory facilities. Allows for more widespread testing related to COVID-19.
- Extends price gouging protections through June 2, 2020. Current price gouging protections last through May 18, 2020. Executive Order 36 extends those protections for 15 days (the maximum allowed by law).
- Motor vehicle registration renewal deadlines are further extended until June 15, 2020. More people qualify for extensions.
- Inspections of light-duty motor vehicles are further suspended until June 15, 2020. More people qualify to renew their vehicle registration this year without an inspection.
- Driver licenses and photo ID renewal deadlines are further extended. CDL license types are extended until June 30, 2020; other types are extended until November 15, 2020. More people qualify for an extension.
- Commercial driver licenses with medical card renewals are further extended until June 30, 2020. More people qualify for an extension.
- Deadlines for new Tennessee residents to obtain a Tennessee driver license are further extended until June 30, 2020. More people qualify for an extension.
- Deadlines for payments to reinstate driver licenses are further extended. More people qualify for an extension.
- Enhanced handgun carry permits are further extended through November 15, 2020. More people qualify for an extension.
- Deadlines for persons with interlock ignition devices are further suspended. More people qualify for an extension.
- Time limits regarding civil asset forfeiture proceedings are further suspended through June 30, 2020. More people qualify for an extension.
- Professional educational and training deadlines administered by the Department of Commerce and Insurance may be extended. The Department now has the authority to extend testing deadlines for regulated professions.
Continuing provisions (in order of appearance)
- Activation of Tennessee Emergency Management Plan.
- Out-of-state health care providers may practice in Tennessee.
- Prescriptions available in 90-day supply.
- Increased availability of home health services.
- Notarization is not required for health care applications.
- Retired medical professionals can easily reenter the health care workforce.
- Continuing education requirements are suspended so health care professionals can keep working.
- Laboratory inspections are suspended to allow for immediate COVID-19 testing.
- Health care licensing inspections and investigations are suspended to increase resources available to fight COVID-19 and to protect public health.
- Inspections of pain management clinics are suspended.
- Inspections of health care facilities are suspended.
- Inspections of medical laboratories are suspended.
- Inspections of pharmaceutical facilities are suspended.
- Inspections of veterinary facilities are suspended.
- Live human patient examinations are suspended for dentistry applicants, and the Board of Dentistry may modify licensing procedures accordingly.
- Memoranda of Understanding with the Department of Health to obtain confidential personal health information are enforceable emergency orders.
- Nursing graduates may practice under supervision without examination.
- Expanding locations for autopsies.
- Pharmacists can process prescriptions remotely.
- Each pharmacist can supervise more pharmacy technicians.
- Medical laboratory directors can monitor facilities remotely.
- Pre-license, post-degree mental or behavioral health professionals can provide telehealth services under supervision.
- Medical laboratory personnel can work remotely.
- Increased number of hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients.
- Regulations of emergency medical services are suspended to increase services.
- Temporary quarantine and isolation facilities may be constructed.
- Size and weight transportation restrictions suspended for emergency supplies.
- Transportation hours of service restrictions suspended for emergency supplies.
- Certain criteria for unemployment benefits are suspended to ensure such benefits are available to COVID 19-affected employees.
- Unemployment information from employers required more quickly to process benefits faster.
- Child care licensure and assessment requirements are suspended to facilitate continued operation of child care facilities.
- Examination cycle of financial institutions may be extended.
- Deadline for TNInvestco annual audited financial statement reports extended until July 31, 2020.
- Departments may extend deadlines to deposit state funds to protect state employees/customers.
- Marriage licenses are extended until June 30, 2020 to facilitate delayed marriage ceremonies.
- Application deadline for tax relief is extended through June 30, 2020.
- Deadline for ethics filings is extended until July 15, 2020.
- Deadlines for law enforcement training are extended.
- Deadline for paying professional privilege tax is extended through June 30, 2020.
- Free copies of business entity filings available for those using them to seek state or federal disaster relief.
- Board of Parole may modify procedures to protect public health.
- Suspends temporary application of safety valve provisions resulting from the temporary decrease in TDOC prisoners.
- Governor has discretion to utilize National Guard members in connection with TDOC operations if needed.
- Motor vehicle dealers can record liens with the Secretary of State.
- Administration of driving tests is suspended.
- Issuance of REAL-ID is suspended.
- Tennessee Corrections Institute transfer procedures are adjusted to respond to COVID-19.
- Tennessee Corrections Institute may flexibly respond to COVID-19 issues.
- Deadlines for building code and building plan inspections may be extended.
- Notarization requirements for bonds and certain legal documents are suspended.
- Deadline for firefighters to complete training may be extended.
- Deadline for law enforcement and firefighter physical examinations is extended until October 1, 2020.
- Deadline for peace officers to complete training may be suspended.
- Annual meeting of the Tennessee Judicial Conference is suspended.
- Remote shareholder meetings permitted under certain conditions.
- Discretionary leave available for state employees affected by COVID-19.
- Inspections of mental health and substance abuse facilities and services are suspended.
- Telephone assessments for involuntary commitment cases are permitted.
- TennCare policies adjusted to prevent coverage disruptions.
- Limitations on emergency admissions to Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities facilities are suspended.
- Medication administration certificates may be extended for Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities personnel.
- Suspending requirements not feasible during COVID-19 pandemic to maintain service levels for persons supported by Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
- Health insurance carriers encouraged to take steps necessary to maximize access to COVID-19 treatment, screening, and testing.
- Telemedicine access is expanded.
- All licensed health care providers can practice telemedicine.
- Tennessee Bureau of Investigation may conduct name-based background checks.
- Deadline to remove expunged records is suspended.
The full orders can be found here.
Current Department of Health Testing Results (as of 2 p.m. 5/12)
For more information on COVID-19 in Tennessee, please visit the Tennessee Department of Health’s website here.