Top 5 deregulatory actions by the governor in response to COVID-19

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Gov. Brad Little has temporarily suspended select regulations that govern Idahoans’ lives. He issued his first list of suspended regulations on March 23 and his second on April 2. These two proclamations, combined, temporarily suspend 143 sections of statutes and administrative rules.

The governor has placed certain regulations on hold under his emergency powers to allow a more immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By far, his top five actions to date are:

  1. Supporting the entry of physicians and physician assistants into the healthcare field. The governor temporarily suspended some licensure requirements for physicians and physician assistants, including continuing education requirements. He also temporarily suspended policies regarding physician supervision of physician assistants. 
  2. Supporting respiratory care. The governor temporarily suspended some licensure requirements for respiratory therapists, including current continuing education requirements.
  3. Increasing the availability of nurses. The governor suspended requirements for temporary nursing licensure and certain regulations regarding inactive nursing licenses. The governor’s actions allow the conversion of an emeritus nursing license (kind of like a retired license) to an active license. As of last week, more than 388 individuals have taken advantage of this deregulation and applied for temporary nursing licensure.
  4. Liberalizing telehealth options. Governor Little suspended regulations so that healthcare providers offering telehealth services do not need to have an established provider-patient relationship before offering their remote services.
  5. Allowing out-of-state practitioners to provide telehealth services to Idahoans. The governor temporarily suspended the requirement that telehealth providers — “physician, physician assistant, respiratory therapist, polysomnographer, dietitian, athletic trainer, or naturopathic medical doctor” — must hold an Idaho license. Thus, out-of-state practitioners can offer telehealth services to Idahoans.