Apr 3, 2020

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Expanding New Jersey's Healthcare Workforce and Providing Protections for Healthcare Professionals Responding to COVID-19

By Evan B. Magnone, Esq.

On April 1, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 112 (the “Executive Order”) in response to the public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This Executive Order temporarily authorizes the Board of Medical Examiners (“BME”) to supplement the State of New Jersey’s existing healthcare workforce in the manner described below and provides broad civil immunity to healthcare professionals and facilities providing services in support of the State’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Licensing:

The Legislature previously authorized the BME to facilitate and expedite temporary licensure by reciprocity of out-of-state healthcare professionals. In light of the emergent need to further supplement the State’s healthcare workforce, this Executive Order adopts the Legislature’s temporary licensure measures and authorizes further licensure expansion.

The BME is authorized to temporarily reactivate the licenses of healthcare professionals

previously licensed in the State within the last five (5) years. The BME is also authorized to grant temporary state licenses to foreign doctors who are in good standing in other jurisdictions.

To facilitate the temporary licensing of these physicians, the requirements of N.J.S.A. 45:9­6 (requiring examination for licensing); N.J.S.A. 45:9-7 (requiring premedical education); N.J.S.A. 45:9-8 (requiring additional education); N.J.S.A. 45:9-12 (requiring examination and other fees); and N.J.S.A. 45:9-19.17 (requiring medical malpractice insurance coverage) are suspended and waived.

Scope-of-Practice:

Certain scope-of-practice restrictions are waived for Advanced Practice Nurses (“APNs”)

and Physician Assistants (“PAs”) who provide services in support of the State’s COVID-19 response efforts. APNs are temporarily authorized to dispense narcotic drugs and practice without physician collaboration or authorization. PAs are temporarily authorized to prescribe controlled dangerous substances without physician authorization.

Civil Immunity:

Healthcare professionals providing services in support of the State’s COVID-19 response are granted civil immunity for any acts or omissions undertaken in good faith, even when those acts or omissions are not within the scope of the individual’s normal scope of practice. This applies to current healthcare professionals and any temporarily licensed healthcare professionals authorized by this Executive Order. This immunity, however, does not extend to acts or omissions that constitute a crime, actual fraud, actual malice, gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Broad civil immunity is similarly extended to any licensed healthcare facility, any modular field treatment facility and any other site designated by the Department of Health for temporary use for the purpose of providing essential services in support of the State’s COVID-19 response, including hotels and student dormitories.

This immunity applies to acts or omissions occurring at any time during the State of

Emergency or Public Health Emergency previously declared by Governor Murphy, including acts or omissions occurring prior to issuance of this Executive Order.

Effective Duration:

This Executive Order will remain in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency declared by Governor Murphy on March 9, 2020.

Schenck Price Smith & King, LLP will continue to monitor State and Federal responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and will provide further updates as needed. If you have any questions regarding the Executive Order referenced in this Alert, please contact the author at ebm@spsk.com.

DISCLAIMER: This Alert is designed to keep you aware of recent developments in the law. It is not intended to be legal advice, which can only be given after the attorney understands the facts of a particular matter and the goals of the client.

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