Jefferson City Governor Mike Parson and his administration continue to take steps to streamline government processes and provide relief to those impacted by COVID-19.
“In order to meet the increasing healthcare needs of Missouri citizens as a result of COVID-19, we are working hard to quickly remove some statutory barriers, allowing more trained healthcare professionals to work in ways that are both safe and productive,” Governor Parson said.
CONTINUED REGULATORY RELIEF FOR STATE GOVERNMENT
With the signing of Executive Order 20-04 last week, Missouri state departments have identified and addressed administrative rules and regulations that could hinder the state’s response to COVID-19. The Division of Professional Registration, under the Department of Commerce and Insurance, has several licensing boards taking action to promote efficiency.
- State Board of Pharmacy
- Waiving some of the existing statutes and rules to assist pharmacists in dispensing medications and managing some tasks remotely.
- Allowing patients to get an emergency prescription filled by another pharmacy if their original dispensing pharmacy is closed and they are unable to contact the prescriber.
- Allowing pharmacists to dispense up to a 30-day supply of emergency medication rather than the normal 7 days. This addresses the need to limit the number of visits to a pharmacy and addresses restrictions on business hours.
- Missouri State Board of Nursing
- Extending the time a temporary permit is valid for nurses so those who already hold a temporary permit are able to continue working for a longer period. This will help with the current nursing shortage.
- Allowing graduate nurses to continue working past the 90-day period they are allowed following graduation. The closure of the testing centers that normally administer the exams means they cannot take the required licensure exam within that 90-day period. The State Board of Nursing is extending their ability to work under supervision for an additional 90 days and will then re-evaluate.
- Other professional boards have requested waivers geared toward keeping people working during this time. Several address current testing time frames or in-person training requirements to allow individuals to continue learning and working and avoid losing previous exam credits because a series of exams cannot be completed in the prescribed period.
- The Department of Health and Senior Services, in consultation with the Missouri Hospital Association, submitted waivers allowing Missouri hospitals to have expedited abilities to combat COVID-19. Specifically, it extends the deadlines for hospitals to apply for license renewals; allows hospitals to set up screening, testing, and other remote sites without having to go through a formal licensing process; allows hospitals to increase their bed capacities; and gives hospitals flexibility to use their long-term care beds for patients with more immediate and severe medical needs.
SECURING MISSOURI’S WORKFORCE
To promote economic vitality, safety, and fairness for Missouri’s businesses and workers, Governor Parson’s administration is promoting measures to protect the state’s businesses and workforce.
- The Missouri Shared Work program, administered through the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR), is an alternative to a layoff that allows an employer to lower staff density while retaining employees. Since employees are still able to work on a reduced schedule, they retain their knowledge and skill sets, and employers are prepared to return to full production quicker because they have retained a skilled staff.
- The program benefits employees because they are still able to receive normal wages for the days and hours they work and unemployment benefits for days they are not working while still receiving regular employer benefits.
- The program is available to employers with three or more employees whose hours are reduced from 20-40 percent. The employees should consist of at least 10 percent of an affected unit.
- The employer must be current on taxes due as well as all their contribution and wage reports. The employer certifies that they will retain all fringe benefits for employees in the program to the same extent as other employees not participating in the program and that they are participating in the program in lieu of a layoff.
- For more information about the program, visit www.sharedwork.mo.gov or call 573-751-WORK.