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By: Shaun Daugherty
In the early evening hours of March 23, Georgia’s Governor Kemp signed an executive order addressing the current medical crisis that has developed due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Under this executive order, any “administrative rules that prohibit the practice of medicine, surgery, osteopathic medicine and osteopathic surgery” without a current license will not be enforced. This only pertains to those individuals whose license has been inactive or lapsed within the last five (5) years, have no ongoing investigations and have had no history of administrative action adverse to the licensee. The suspension of the enforcement of these provisions is limited to the treatment “of victims of the existing public health emergency and solely for the duration of the Order.”
In addition, the Governor has permitted the Georgia Board of Nursing to grant temporary licenses to those registered nurses (RN) and practical nurses (PN) who have completed their training, but have yet to take and pass the licensing exam. These temporary licenses will allow the graduates to work “under a licensed registered nurse or licensed practical nurse” during the effective dates of the Order. This has generated Policy 1.16 from the Georgia Board of Nursing regarding the process and procedure of applying for the temporary permit. This also allows nursing professionals from out of state to apply for and obtain temporary permits as well.
Basically, if you have recently retired or allowed your medical license to lapse for other reasons, you are allowed to jump in and help provide medical care and treatment to those infected or suspected to be infected with the virus and not be charged with practicing medicine without a license. That is as long as your last license was unencumbered and without prior adverse administrative action. In addition, if you have recently graduated from nursing school and have not yet completed your licensing exams for this state, you too can practice immediately, under the supervision of an already licensed RN or LPN. Applications for the emergency temporary permits can be found at the Georgia Board of Nursing website at https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/45/emergency_temporary_permits.
These provisions are clearly meant to address the growing shortage of health care providers available to treat the pandemic that has developed. The next step is going to be finding places for them to treat the patients. If you have any questions, please contact Shaun Daugherty at email@example.com
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