COVID-19 Update from the NYSSPA President
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
March 24, 2020
What a week in what is sure to roll out to be weeks and potentially months. A sincere note of thanks to each of you who have spent countless hours taking care of patients and your families while advocating for our profession.
The NYSSPA Board and Committee Chairs have been actively doing what we were charged to do. As we have often stated, it takes a crisis to create advocacy and awareness and this crisis is no different...it certainly speaks to our professional versatility. PAs who are losing their jobs in surgical sub-specialties are being re-purposed into Urgent Care, EHS, Hospitalist and other positions. It was truly a week for PAs and NYSSPA to shine as we advance OTP. To share some of what has been taking place:
- Engagement with NYS Senators and Congressional Representatives regarding federal barriers to practice for PAs in NYS.
- Multiple conversations with our Lobbyist, MSSNY, the Worker's Compensation Board, the NYS Department of Medicaid Managed Care, and others.
- An "ASK" was put in to the Governor that, in light of COVID-19, our MOLST Bill go into effect before June - we will let everyone know if anything changes.
- Our Asian SIG has collected much needed PPE for healthcare facilities at the epicenter who are facing shortages.
- Engagement in a nationwide SM advocacy event with all legislators and media interests. Members of our Board have been interviewed by local, regional and national media outlets.
- Engagement with AAPA Leadership to ensure ongoing alignment and support as well as the AAPA Special Interest Group on Telemedicine and Virtual Medicine.
- Engagement with the Federation of State Medical Boards.
- NYSSPA Board Members and Committee Chairs who are in a position to do so are supporting NYS PAs who may have been furloughed into a different position.
What a week it has been in what is sure to be weeks and potentially months. A sincere note of thanks to each of you who have spent countless hours taking care of patients and your families while advocating for our profession. The NYSSPA Board and Committee Chairs have been actively doing what we have been charged to do. I share this information with you conscious of the e-mail fatigue we are all experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and our pivotal role combating it. As we have often stated, it takes a crisis to create advocacy and awareness, and this crisis is no different. It certainly speaks to our professional versatility. PAs who are losing their jobs in surgical subspecialties are being repurposed into Urgent Care, EHS, Hospitalist and other positions. It was truly a week for PAs and NYSSPA to shine as we advance OTP.
To share some of what has been taking place:
• NYSSPA has had ongoing engagement with the NYS Governor and the Health Commissioner to ensure that PAs and PA students are included as part of the solution. The DOH is looking to identify PAs to help with projected surge capacity. Information is available in this attachment and at health.ny.gov/assistance.
• Engagement with NYS Senators and Congressional Representatives regarding federal barriers to practice for PAs in NYS.
• Multiple conversations with our lobbyist, MSSNY, the Workers’ Compensation Board, the NYS Department of Medicaid Managed Care and others.
• An "ask" to the Governor that, in light of COVID-19, our MOLST Bill go into effect before June. We will keep you posted if this changes. I will let everyone know if anything changes.
• Our Asian SIG has collected much needed PPE for healthcare facilities at the epicenter who are facing shortages.
• Engagement in a nationwide SM advocacy event with all legislators and media interests. Members of the NYSSPA Board have been interviewed by local, regional and national media outlets.
• Engagement with AAPA leadership to ensure ongoing alignment and support as well as the AAPA Special Interest Group on Telemedicine and Virtual Medicine.
• Engagement with the Federation of State Medical Boards.
• NYSSPA Board Members and Committee Chairs who are in a position to do so have supported furloughed NYS PAs find different positions.
• A blood drive sponsored by our Student Directors to have PAs and PA students to help offset blood shortages. This is a perfect opportunity for clinical-year students who may not be on rotation. When donating please share it on social media with the hashtags #PAsgiveblood #givebloodgiveback #NYSSPA #NYBloodCenter
• If there are initiatives PAs are undertaking in your communities please share them with NYSSPA at email@example.com.
I would like to share highlights of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order dated March 23, 2020:
Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency
WHEREAS, on March 7, 2020, I issued Executive Order Number 202, declaring a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York;
WHEREAS, both travel-related cases and community contact transmission of COVID-19 have been documented in New York State and are expected to be continue;
WHEREAS, ensuring the State of New York has adequate bed capacity, supplies, and providers to treat patients affected with COVID-19, as well as patients afflicted with other maladies, is of critical importance; and
WHEREAS, eliminating any obstacle to the provision of supplies and medical treatment is necessary to ensure the New York healthcare system has adequate capacity to provide care to all who need it;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 29-a of Article 2-B of the Executive Law to temporarily suspend or modify any statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or parts thereof, of any agency during a State disaster emergency, if compliance with such statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation would prevent, hinder, or delay action necessary to cope with the disaster emergency or if necessary to assist or aid in coping with such disaster, I hereby temporarily suspend or modify, for the period from the date of this Executive Order through April 22, 2020 the following:
* Paragraph 1 of Section 6542 of the Education Law and Subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 94.2 of Title 10 of the NYCRR to the extent necessary to permit a physician assistant to provide medical services appropriate to their education, training and experience without oversight from a supervising physician without civil or criminal penalty related to a lack of oversight by a supervising physician;
* Subdivision (15) of section 3001, and Sections 800.3, 800.15 and 800.16 of Title 10 of the NYCRR with approval of the department, to the extent necessary to define “medical control” to include emergency and non-emergency direction to all emergency medical services personnel by a regional or state medical control center and to permit emergency medical services personnel to operate under the advice and direction of a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or paramedic, provided that such medical professional is providing care under the supervision of a physician and pursuant to a plan approved by the Department of Health;
* Subdivision (2) of section 6527, Section 6545, and Subdivision (1) of Section 6909 of the Education Law, to the extent necessary to provide that all physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, nurse practitioners, licensed registered professional nurses and licensed practical nurses shall be immune from civil liability for any injury or death alleged to have been sustained directly as a result of an act or omission by such medical professional in the course of providing medical services in support of the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, unless it is established that such injury or death was caused by the gross negligence of such medical professional;
* Any healthcare facility is authorized to allow students, in programs to become licensed in New York State to practice as a healthcare professional, to volunteer at the healthcare facility for educational credit as if the student had secured a placement under a clinical affiliation agreement, without entering into any such clinical affiliation agreement;
* Notwithstanding any law or regulation to the contrary, health care providers are relieved of recordkeeping requirements to the extent necessary for health care providers to perform tasks as may be necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, including, but not limited to, requirements to maintain medical records that accurately reflect the evaluation and treatment of patients, or requirements to assign diagnostic codes or to create or maintain other records for billing purposes. Any person acting reasonably and in good faith under this provision shall be afforded absolute immunity from liability for any failure to comply with any recordkeeping requirement. In order to protect from liability any person acting reasonably and in good faith under this provision, requirements to maintain medical records under Subdivision 32 of Section 6530 of the Education Law, Paragraph (3) of Subdivision (a) of Section 29.2 of Title 8 of the NYCRR, and Sections 58-1.11, 405.10, and 415.22 of Title 10 of the NYCRR, or any other such laws or regulations are suspended or modified to the extent necessary for health care providers to perform tasks as may be necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak;
* Subdivision (e) of section 405.2 of Title 10 of the NYCRR, to the extent necessary to permit general hospitals affected by the disaster emergency to maintain adequate staffing;
* Subdivision (b) of section 405.3 of Title 10 of the NYCRR, to the extent necessary to allow general hospitals to use qualified volunteers or personnel affiliated with different general hospitals, subject to the terms and conditions established by the Commissioner of Health;
* Section 6502 of the Education Law and 8 NYCRR 59.8, to the extent necessary to allow physician assistants licensed and in current good standing in New York State but not registered in New York State to practice in New York State without civil or criminal penalty related to lack of registration;
* No pharmacist shall dispense hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine except when written as prescribed for an FDA-approved indication; or as part of a state approved clinical trial related to COVID-19 for a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19, with such test result documented as part of the prescription. No other experimental or prophylactic use shall be permitted, and any permitted prescription is limited to one fourteen day prescription with no refills.
* Any licensed health insurance company shall deliver to the Superintendent, no later than March 24, 2020 a list of all persons who have a professional licensure or degree, whether physician assistant, medical doctor, licensed registered nurse, licensed nurse practitioner or licensed practical nurse, and whether or not the person has a currently valid, or recently (within past five years) expired license in the State of New York. The Department of Financial Services shall poll such individuals to determine whether or not such professionals would serve in the COVID-19 response effort.
To ensure every NYS PA has the resources they need to be informed and to not add to the number of e-mails you are all receiving, we have created this NYSSPA Action Against COVID-19 web page with resources that will be updated as materials become available.
Follow NYSSPA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, we will be sharing all future updates to the web page via these channels
I thank those of you who are NYSSPA members and who contribute to NYSSPA’s PAC Fund. Renew your membership through June 2021 as advocacy is not free. Your membership support and PAC Fund Contribution is the best investment you could possibly make in our profession.
Please stay safe, with warmest professional regards,
Maureen Regan, MBA, PA-C, FACHE, DFAAPA