Yes, New Jersey, There is Still a Public Health Emergency
On July 2, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 162 to extend the Public Health Emergency (PHE) that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order No. 103. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed. The PHE was previously extended on April 7th (EO 119), May 6th (EO 138), and June 4th (EO 151).
One reason cited in Executive Order No. 162 for the extension of the PHE is to ensure that the State can swiftly respond to take all appropriate actions in the event that the rate of reported new cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, number of individuals being admitted to hospitals for COVID-19, or rate of reproduction for COVID-19 infections in New Jersey increase once more, as we are now seeing in numerous states across the country.
Executive Order No. 162 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes any rule waivers or modifications or bulletins issued by state agencies, authorities, boards, bureaus, commissions, divisions, institutions, or offices that are effective during the PHE. The following is a non-exhaustive list of Executive Branch actions that are still in effect during the PHE:
- Health care facility and licensed healthcare professional civil liability immunity related to COVID-19 care and response;
- Relaxed telemedicine requirements to encourage the widespread use of telemedicine;
- Expanded of the scope of practice of physician assistants, nurse practitioners and permit practice by retired and foreign trained physicians;
- Required telemedicine reimbursement parity by insurance carriers;
- Required telehealth service coverage and reimbursement by NJ Family Care;
- Waiver of certain qualifications for an assisted living residence or comprehensive personal care home administrators;
- Extended time period within which a certified medication aide (CMA) candidate must sit for the medication aide exam after completing his or her medication aide training course;
- Modified requirements for an individual to qualify to work as a certified nurse aide (CNA) in a licensed long-term care facility in New Jersey;
- Recertification of EMTs whose certifications have expired within the past five years (April 1, 2015 to April 1, 2020) so that they are eligible for “Covid-19 EMT re-entry”;
- Modified requirements necessary for individuals to restore their paramedic certifications from inactive status to active status;
- Waiver of certain requirements regarding the maintenance of respiratory care equipment in hospitals;
- Permitting individuals receiving opioid treatment services to receive medication that they can take at home; and
- Waiver of the requirement for signatures by Medicaid/NJ Familycare, Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) and Senior Gold beneficiaries at the time a prescription is dispensed or delivered.
We will be monitoring the next extension of the PHE and provide any relevant updates.