Governor Parson Continues Efforts to Eliminate Barriers, Expand Ability to Provide Health Care During COVID-19 Crisis

 — In today’s press briefing, Governor Mike Parson announced he has approved a waiver granting full reciprocity for physicians and surgeons from other states who wish to assist Missourians during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers joined today's press briefing to provide more details.

“It is critical that our health professionals be able to treat Missourians during the COVID-19 crisis. We must provide more flexibility and alternative delivery methods for professionals in other states to provide care in Missouri,” Governor Parson said. “Our goal is to provide as much access to care as possible for the sake of all Missourians.”

The purpose of the reciprocity waiver is to allow health care professionals to provide care in  areas of significant need during this public health crisis without having the barrier of government licensure issues. 

During this state of emergency in Missouri, physicians and surgeons licensed in another state can provide care to Missouri citizens, in person or using telehealth options, as long as they are actively licensed in another state and their license has not been disciplined.

At the request of the Missouri State Board of Nursing and the Missouri Board for the Healing Arts, Governor Parson has also temporarily waived the regulation requiring that a collaborating physician and an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) be within 75 miles of each other.

This waiver expands the ability of health care professionals to directly serve the needs of all citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak and reduces travel of both patients and providers, which will help reduce the spread of the virus.

The waiver benefits patients and health care professionals in the following ways:

  • Allows health practitioners to treat patients and minimizes travel and spread of the virus
  • Allows a physician and APRN to collaborate regardless of where the providers are located
  • Avoids the disruption of services should a collaborating physician become ill or be diverted to another practice location

The Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) also continues to take action and ensure Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens have the support they need to stay healthy. Acting Director Jennifer Tidball provided an update at today's briefing. 

  • DSS is temporarily suspending Food Stamp applicant interviews as a condition of eligibility for applications received in March and April. DSS is getting clarification from USDA on May applications.
  • DSS will make a special payment to Child Care Subsidy providers to ensure they are paid no less in the month of March 2020 than the average of their payments for the preceding three months.
  • MO HealthNet is increasing communication with providers through extensive provider outreach efforts. Providers can now email billing questions regarding COVID-19 to covid-19@dss.mo.gov.
  • DSS is developing a food assistance community resource list that will be posted on the DSS website to help link Missourians to local food sources. DSS is also working with the Food Bank Association to help ensure Missourians have access to food.
  • The Family Support Division Call Center (855-373-4636) is now open 7 days a week, Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The state also continues to procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospitals, law enforcement, first responders, and other emergency service personnel. Below is a summary of PPE in Missouri as of today.

The Strategic National Stockpile is for hospitals, EMS, and long-term care facilities. The Missouri Strategic National Stockpile warehouse has shipped:

  • 52,800 face shields
  • 7,000 gloves
  • 3,263 cases of N-95, surgical, and sp blue masks (120-300 in a case depending on type)
  • 1,092 cases of surgical gowns (18-30 in a case depending on size) 

PPE for first responders (including law enforcement and fire service agencies) has been purchased. SEMA has ordered:

  • 6,606,550 surgical masks
  • 5,814,800 gloves
  • 4,325,480 N-95 masks
  • 900,112 face shields
  • 508,000 biohazard bags
  • 441,560 bottles of hand sanitizer
  • 214,038 containers of disinfecting wipes
  • 208,000 medical shoe covers 
  • 74,396 safety goggles
  • 5,000 surgical gowns

Pictures from today’s press briefing are available on Governor Parson’s Flickr page.