Gov. Abbott waives regulations for emergency licenses to expand health care workforce

greg abbott disaster declaration coronavirus

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference as he announced the signing of a state disaster declaration to maximize resources for the state to tackle novel coronavirus cases on March 13, 2020. (Nexstar Photo/Richie Bowes)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In his latest move to increase the number of health care workers in Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Greg Abbott has waived certain regulations allowing some to get emergency licenses.

“The State of Texas is bolstering our response to COVID-19 by expanding our health care workforce and removing barriers that might prevent professionals from serving their fellow Texans,” said Gov. Abbott. “Our front line health care professionals play a vital role in our ongoing response to protect public health, and we are committed to supporting them and ensuring they have the ability to perform their important duties.”

Under his waiver, physician assistants, medical physicists, perfusionists and respiratory care candidates who have completed all other requirements can enter the workforce with an emergency license. The license would involved them working under supervision before taking their final licensure exam.

It also allows people who get the emergency license to go through a name-based background check instead of a fingerprint check, since those are unavailable during the COVID-19 crisis.

The waiver also allows flexibility for physicians and the people they supervise, including PA’s and advance practice registered nurses, allowing for assignments to be made orally to help deploy them fast during the emergency.

It’s the latest of a number of efforts from Abbott to add volume of employees to the healthcare field.

He has also waived regulations for licensing advance practice registered nurses, and allowed doctors to come out of retirement if they made the move less than two years ago.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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