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August 12, 2022

Gov. Inslee Announces Termination of Emergency Proclamations Related to Health Care

Gov. Jay Inslee will rescind several emergency proclamations originally put in place by the governor early in the pandemic to help slow the spread of the virus and to help physicians, health care professionals, and facilities respond to the crisis. The proclamations as announced by the governor will be rescinded as of 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 27, 2022. Physicians are advised to prepare now to transition as the end of these flexibilities draws near.

Below is a comprehensive list of all proclamations that will be rescinded on Oct. 27.

Continuing education for health care professionals

Proclamation 20-32: This proclamation temporarily waived the requirements in Chapter 246-12 WAC related to continuing education for health care professionals.

For medical assistants: This proclamation includes the one-year time limit for Medical Assistant Interim Certification Permits (MAIC). This proclamation applies to MA-Cs, who are required to have passed a certification exam within the five years prior to licensure. This proclamation does not apply to MA-Rs, MA-Ps, or MA-HTs. The Washington State Department of Health is encouraging those who hold an interim permit to consider moving forward with scheduling a national examination as Washington transitions back to the one-year limit for MAIC permit holders. According to the DOH, many of these national examinations have wait lists several months long.

For physician assistants: PAs will be required to submit their practice agreement to the Washington Medical Commission if they have not done so already. Due to the passage of House Bill 2378, which passed the Legislature in 2020, these practice agreements do not need to be approved by the commission, just submitted. If you filed a practice agreement (formerly delegation agreement) before July 1, 2021, you do not need to update to reflect the changes in HB 2378.

Osteopathic physicians: The Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery will excuse osteopathic physicians from attesting to completion of CE requirements as a requirement for license renewal until they have completed their next full CE cycle after Oct. 27, 2022.

Certificate of need

Proclamation 20-36: A provision of this proclamation addresses certificate of need, among other things:

For those facilities requiring a certificate of need:

By Aug. 28, 2022, facilities must submit a letter of intent to the DOH conforming to WAC 246-310-080. Letters of intent must describe the increase in capacity or new locations the facility wants to maintain and be accompanied by a patient transition plan should the department not approve the application. Send the letter of intent to covidwaiver@doh.wa.gov.

By Oct. 27, 2022, facilities must submit a CN application and the appropriate fee to the DOH following existing CN application processes and requirements. Facilities must also submit applications to modify their facility license within this same timeframe, as appropriate. If your CN application is denied, you must execute your patient transition plan and revert your operations to your previously approved CN.

Exception: Health care facility types on a concurrent review cycle for CN applications (nursing homes, hospice care centers, and end-stage renal disease facilities) will be required to submit a second letter of intent, CN application, and appropriate fee in compliance with the DOH's published schedule the next time the application cycle opens. Facilities must also submit applications to modify their facility license within this same timeframe, as appropriate. If your CN application is denied, you must execute your patient transition plan and revert your operations to your previously approved CN.

Long-term care facilities

Proclamation 20-52: This proclamation incorporated proclamations 20-06, 20-10, 20-16, 20-17, and 20-18 and does the following:

  • 20-06: Restricted visitor access to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • 20-10: Extended the above restriction to adult family homes and addressed a shortage of long-term care workers.
  • 20-16: Extended the above restrictions to all visitors.
  • 20-17: Applied the above restrictions to additional facilities.
  • 20-18: Expanded Family Emergency Assistance Program eligibility and waived some provisions to address worker shortages.

Restrictions on elective procedures

Proclamation 20-24: This proclamation temporarily restricted the practice of non-urgent medical procedures, prioritizing only medically necessary surgeries and services.

Temporary practice permits

Proclamation 20-59: This proclamation temporarily waived some statutes for temporary practice permit issuance. This made it easier for recently graduated health care workers in programs such as dentistry, pharmacy, and dental hygiene to obtain permits and enter the workforce.

Other

  • Proclamation 20-65: This proclamation considered the statutes required of staff at congregate living and care facilities, waiving some, and extending some other waivers.
  • Proclamation 20-66: This proclamation gave specific parameters for different kinds of care facilities regarding visitation policies throughout the pandemic.
  • Proclamation 20-74: This proclamation gave specific parameters for different kinds of care facilities regarding visitation policies for long-term treatment of children.

Looking ahead

The WSMA continues to advocate on behalf of physicians and practices as officials at the state and federal levels navigate the transition out of the public health emergency. For more, see the cover feature in the July/August issue of WSMA Reports, mailed to members (and available online). As part of our effort to help our members and the profession recover from the trauma of the pandemic, the WSMA is joining the American Medical Association to support a Recovery Plan for America's Physicians. More information to come in the months ahead.

Join or renew your membership today!