by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
North Carolina has rolled back many regulations in health care during the Coronavirus outbreak. These deregulation efforts have ignited conversations over whether or not this deregulation should become permanent. JLF’s Jordan Roberts wrote a research brief discussing this topic. He writes:
[T[he John Locke Foundation released several recommendations for state officials and state legislators to consider as they respond to the virus. I offered some health care policy changes the state could make to increase access for patients, provide additional flexibility to the health care system, and better utilize the health care professionals and infrastructure we currently have in place.
I’m pleased that Gov. Cooper implemented almost all of the John Locke Foundation’s health policy recommendations through several executive orders.
Roberts explains a host of temporary regulatory changes the government has initiated in response to COVID-19:
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Health Service Regulation recently sent guidance to the CEOs of hospitals to increase acute bed capacity by obtaining written permission from the state rather than undergoing the full process by the State Health Coordinating Council…
The EO also allows for ambulatory surgery centers to register as a hospital temporarily. ASCs will need to receive written permission for this to happen. This move will increase the state’s bed capacity and further decrease pressure on some health care systems that may experience an abundance of cases in their area…
In a previous executive order, Gov. Cooper recognized out-of-state licenses for health care professionals who are licensed in another state.
There is still more than can be done. Roberts writes:
First, the NC Medical Board should waive all of the collaborative practice agreement requirements for nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses. Removing this arcane supervisory requirement will empower nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses to offer the full range of their services. Second, the Pharmacy Board could allow pharmacists to test and treat non-chronic conditions such as strep and flu to ease the burden on other health care providers. This will keep those individuals not suffering from COVID-19 out of the hospitals and emergency rooms.