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Michigan Suspends Restrictions and Requirements on Scope of Practice, Supervision and Delegation and Provides Immunity to Health Care Facilities and Providers

March 31, 2020

This document provides a brief and high-level overview of the recent Executive Order 2020-30.  We note that developments related to COVID-19 are fluid and rapidly changing. 

On Sunday, March 29, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-30 in an effort to make available as many health care professionals as possible to provide needed assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing temporary relief from certain restrictions and requirements governing the provision of medical services. While the Executive Order provides relief from a number of legal requirements, the Executive Order notably suspends statutory restrictions on medical professional scope of practice, supervision and delegation requirements effective immediately through the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency. 

Under the Executive Order and while Michigan’s state of emergency is in effect, the following designated health care facilities are allowed to expand the medical services provided by the facility’s employees and contractors appropriate to the individual’s education, training and experience without applicable supervision, as determined by the facility’s medical leadership:   hospitals, freestanding surgical outpatient facilities, nursing homes, hospices, homes for the aged, county medical care facilities, emergency response services, and all state-operated surgical, outpatient and veterans facilities. Of notable importance, the Executive Order provides for the following:

  1. Physician assistants may provide services without a written practice agreement with a physician.
  2. Advanced practice nurses and pharmacists may provide services without physician supervision. Licensed practical nurses may provide nursing services without registered nurse supervision.
  3. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses may order COVID-19 infection nasal or throat swab tests.
  4. Medical students, physical therapists, and emergency medical technicians may serve as voluntary or employed “respiratory therapist extenders” under the supervision of physicians, respiratory therapists, or advanced practice registered nurses to assist respiratory therapists and other health care professionals in the operation of ventilators or related devices.
  5. Qualified personnel from other health care facilities, enrolled health care profession students, and qualified volunteers affiliated with any healthcare facility may volunteer or work in whatever roles that are necessary and are appropriate to the individual’s education, training and experience to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Executive Order provides that any licensed health care professional or designated health care facility that provides medical services in support of this state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is not liable for an injury sustained by a person by reason of those services, regardless of how or under what circumstances or by what cause those injuries are sustained, unless it is established that such injury or death was caused by gross negligence. 

The information described above does not constitute legal advice and is subject to revision and further interpretation as new rules and guidance on issues relating to COVID-19 are released.  Please reach out to your Honigman Health Care practice attorney if you have any questions.  Visit Honigman’s COVID-19 Response page for additional information.