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Wisconsin loosens restrictions for health care workers as COVID-19 continues to rise

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Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 1:24 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Facing worsening COVID-19 numbers, Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order Thursday easing some of the restrictions on health care workers, hoping to provide some relief for hospitals facing staffing shortages.

“Our hospitals are being stretched to the limit, and we need to take action to assist our frontline medical professionals with their life-saving work,” Evers said in a statement announcing the order.

Dept. of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm warned the state is entering a new stage of its fight against coronavirus and pointed out that hospitals across the state are either short-staffed or about to be.

The order is designed to let out-of-state health care providers to practice medicine in the state and to make it easier for Wisconsin health care workers renew their license or get theirs back. According to the governor’s statement, the order includes:

  • Temporary interstate license reciprocity for healthcare providers to work in Wisconsin healthcare facilities;
  • Extending licenses that may expire during the federal emergency declaration for 30 days after its conclusion;
  • Making it easier for healthcare providers with a recently lapsed license to apply for a reinstatement with the Department of Safety and Professional Services, and;
  • Allowing out-of-state physicians to practice telemedicine in Wisconsin with proper notification of DSPS.

The order will take effect immediately. It will stay in effect until the federally-declared public health emergency and any renewals ends or until Gov. Evers issues a superseding order.

In the governor’s statement, Palm expressed her gratitude over having the flexibility to allow health care facilities to increase their staffing.

She also urged everyone in the state to continue wearing masks and to stay home as much as possible as a way to protect health care workers.

Copyright 2020 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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