February 7, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 38


February 06, 2023

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Florida Declares State of Emergency Over Coronavirus Disease 2019

On March 9, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order Number 20-52, declaring a state of emergency because of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The state of emergency covers all of Florida and gives broad powers to state and local government agencies in responding to COVID-19. It will expire on April 8, 2020, unless extended.

Previously, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) issued a Declaration of Public Health Emergency on March 1, 2020, stating that COVID-19 is a threat to public health in Florida. Pursuant to the Declaration of Public Health Emergency, the DOH requested assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and reminded Florida health care providers, hospitals, and laboratories to immediately report all suspected cases of COVID-19. As of March 9, 2020, Florida has approximately 20 reported cases of COVID-19, including two deaths, spread out in the following eight counties: Broward, Charlotte, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Volusia.

The March 9, 2020, executive order provides state and local government agencies broad powers to respond to COVID-19. First, it appoints the Florida Director of Emergency Management as the State Coordinating Officer during the state of emergency with the power to suspend any statute, order, or rule that would hinder any mitigation, response, or recovery effort. In addition, state and local government agencies may suspend budgetary and regulatory rules affecting leasing, printing, purchasing, travel, employment conditions, and employer compensation. Similarly, state and local government agencies may waive the formalities and procedures in entering contracts, employing temporary workers, renting equipment, and performing public works necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

The recently declared state of emergency further waives licensure requirements for out-of-state health care professionals who render services in Florida related to COVID-19, as long as they do so for the American Red Cross or the DOH. Also, pharmacists may dispense up to a 30-day emergency prescription refill of maintenance medications.

Finally, the new executive order allows state and local agencies to close any public buildings. Information on any Florida public building closures, as well as all future COVID-19 notices, may be found at the dedicated DOH COVID-19 website.

©2023 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 71

About this Author

Michael Cherniga, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Tallahassee, Health Care Law Attorney

On a state, regional and national basis, Mike provides sophisticated and nuanced counsel on health care regulatory and transactional matters. His practice focuses on compliance issues related to the myriad state and Federal regulations across the health care spectrum, including without limitation matters involving professional and organizational licensure, the Federal Stark Law and similar state physician self-referral prohibition regulations, Federal and state anti-kickback laws, HIPAA and other patient privacy laws, Medicare, Medicaid and other governmental payor...

David C. Ashburn Shareholder Health Care & FDA Practice Government Law & Policy Government Contracts Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Health Care Financial Regulatory & Compliance Banking & Financial Services

David C. Ashburn is Managing Shareholder of the Tallahassee Office. He provides state and federal regulatory counsel and administrative litigation representation to clients in the health care, managed care, financial services and insurance-industries. His understanding of governmental regulatory processes also enables him to counsel buyers and sellers of regulated businesses and the lenders and private equity groups that finance those transactions. The types of clients that David advises include:

  • Institutional health care providers such as hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers...
Sonya C. Penley Associate Tallahassee Health Care & FDA Practice Government Law & Policy Regulatory & Compliance

Sonya Penley represents clients in the health care sector with respect to corporate, regulatory, administrative and governmental issues. Her diverse clients include long-term care providers, physician group practices, assisted living facilities, hospitals, hospices, home health agencies, DME suppliers, clinical laboratories, pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesalers and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). She has particular experience with health facility acquisitions, mergers and other changes in ownership, including related licensure and Medicare/Medicaid certification matters, long-...

Liz Dudek  Director of Healthcare Affairs
Director of Healthcare Affairs

Liz Dudek’s career in Florida’s state government spanned over 40 years across a variety of senior management positions including Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration and Deputy Secretary of Health Quality Assurance. As Secretary, Liz oversaw one of the largest Medicaid programs in the nation. Under her administration, the Agency successfully implemented the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program and the establishment of the Care Provider Background Screening Clearinghouse. Liz has worked extensively with health care facilities, providers, and insurers. As a leader in...

Christopher E. Gottfried Associate Health Care & FDA Practice

Christopher E. Gottfried focuses his practice on health care, as well as administrative and regulatory matters. Christopher represents clients such as executives at large physician practice groups and hospital chains, compounding pharmacies, managed care organizations, ambulatory surgical centers, and physicians. He has experience working with numerous federal and state governmental agencies, and handles matters concerning the federal and Florida Anti-Kickback Statutes, the federal Stark Law, the federal and Florida False Claims Act, the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, Florida’s...