A Senate committee today (May 24) approved a measure introduced by Senators Scott Hutchinson (R-21) and Michele Brooks (R-50) that would maintain key emergency provisions after the COVID-19 disaster declaration is lifted.
The Senate Health & Human Services Committee, Chaired by Senator Brooks, approved Senate Bill 671, which provides for an extension of the waivers and administrative flexibilities afforded to health care professionals during the pandemic for one year after the disaster declaration is lifted.
The legislation also directs the Joint State Government Commission, with the assistance of health care professionals and administrative officials, to research and compile these flexibilities and waivers and make recommendations as to which waivers and administrative flexibilities should permanently remain in place.
“Emergency declarations at both the state and federal levels have allowed administrative agencies to ensure that essential health care workers can respond to the ever-evolving needs of their communities,” Senator Hutchinson said. “This legislation will temporarily maintain key services like the expanded use of telemedicine and prevent an abrupt and disruptive change at the end of the COVID-19 emergency declarations.”
“If there is one thing this past year has demonstrated, it is that so much red tape, over-regulation, and burdensome paperwork increases the cost of health care and consumes valuable time without significantly increasing the quality of care for our loved ones, “ Senator Brooks said. “As we emerge from this pandemic, now is a great opportunity to examine the waivers granted, such as the wise decision to allow retired nurses and doctors to give COVID-19 vaccines, to evaluate what bureaucracy, red tape, and obsolete regulations can be eliminated. It’s time to streamline.”
The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.