Ricketts issues Executive Order to bolster healthcare workforce
Governor Pete Ricketts issued an executive order on March 27 to expedite the entry of medical professionals into the workforce. Nebraska currently has ample providers to meet the demand for care. The purpose of the order is to prepare for the possibility of a surge in COVID-19 cases and/or the unavailability of some medical professionals due to quarantine restrictions.
The Governor’s order authorizes the credentialing of retired or inactive health professionals who wish to serve Nebraskans during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) emergency. It also defers the requirements for healthcare providers to pay initial licensing fees or to complete continuing education. Additionally, the Governor is temporarily waiving the restrictions on licensed out-of-state medical professionals working in Nebraska. Furthermore, the executive order temporarily suspends the limitations on the number of physician assistants that a physician may supervise. Read the executive order by clicking here.
At the press event, Dr. William McDonnell, Medical Director of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBS Nebraska), talked about steps his company has taken to better serve Nebraskans during the coronavirus pandemic. BCBS Nebraska proactively began to offer free telehealth to members before insurance companies were required to do so because they believed it was the right thing to do. BCBS Nebraska has also announced that—as of March 16, 2020—it is reimbursing all credentialed providers 100% of costs for all telehealth visits. This option increases access to healthcare at a time when Nebraskans with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms are being asked to quarantine. It also protects persons with health risks from having to travel to a medical office.
Ken Herz, President of the Nebraska Cattlemen, also joined Gov. Ricketts to talk about COVID-19 preparedness in the Beef State. He reminded ranchers and beef producers to practice social distancing during upcoming cattle sales or activities such as branding.
Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt took part in today’s press conference as well. He talked about DOE’s guidance for schools during the COVID-19 outbreak. Commissioner Blomstedt has recommended that schools operate without students in their buildings by using distance learning and e-learning options.
Gov. Ricketts also reminded Nebraskans of the continuing need to practice good hygiene and to comply with social distancing measures.
- Wave or verbally acknowledge someone rather than shaking hands.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Do not greet people with hugs or kisses.
- Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water; use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and then throw the tissue directly into the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.
Full video of the March 27 press briefing is available by clicking here.