July 14, 2020
Michigan Governor Protects Public, Rescinds Scope of Practice Waiver Order
On July 13, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) rescinded Executive Order 2020-61, which, among other things, waived physician supervision requirements for nurse anesthetists as part of the facilities response to the COVID-19 pandemic, provided that the services are appropriate to the nurse’s education, training, and background. The now rescinded supervision waiver also required consultation of the medical facility leadership.
With most states concluding stay-at-home orders and resuming essential surgeries, any state that temporarily waived physician supervision requirements to address the pandemic should reinstate the full range of critical safety standards that patients depend on, including the requirement for physician supervision of nurse anesthetists. Patients are best served when traditional care team models of practice are fully utilized, both during this public health crisis and upon the resumption of elective and non-emergent surgeries and other procedures. Governors and their staffs are encouraged to use the recommendations provided in the ASA Statement on the Use of Nurse Anesthetists During COVID.
The now rescinded order in Michigan mirrored orders in other states in that it included the appropriate patient safety guardrails necessary to ensure supervision waivers were limited to the treatment of COVID patients, were consistent with the recommendations of the physician leadership, and were aligned with the nurse’s education, training and experience. Executive Order 2020-150, which replaces 2020-61, temporarily suspends continuing education, BLS/ACLS certifications, fingerprinting, and cancelled exam requirements (for those cancelled) for health care professionals.
ASA commends Gov. Whitmer’s efforts to protect patient safety by reinstating physician supervision requirements.