A South Carolina senator is pushing his state’s medical community to adopt an “all hands on deck” response to the coronavirus pandemic – urging its leaders to suspend regulatory restrictions that prevent nurse practitioners and physician assistants from engaging more directly in the current health care crisis.
Davis added in his tweet that he was pushing to have “scope of practice restrictions suspended for ALL hospitals.”
“Scope of practice” laws define which medical services health care professionals are allowed to provide based on their classification.
“We need to ramp up supply NOW and not let perfect be the enemy of the good,” Davis tweeted.
(Click to view)
(Via: S.C. Governor’s Office)
South Carolina governor Henry McMaster (above) has already authorized the S.C. Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation (SCLLR) – and specifically the S.C. Board of Medical Examiners (SCBME) – to “suspend provisions of existing regulations … [that] would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency.”
Nearly three weeks after McMaster issued his order, however, sources tell us these regulations “have not been relaxed” and are in fact being “hemmed in by bureaucratic red tape and by special interests … eager to keep their health care hegemony.”
“This is a classic case of lives versus money,” one patients’ advocate told this news outlet.
Davis is no stranger when it comes to relaxing regulations on medical professionals. He served as the lead sponsor of Act 234 of 2018 – which expanded the scope of practice for nurse practitioners – and Act 32 of 2019, which did the same for physician’s assistants.
“South Carolina’s health care system needs to be ‘all hands on deck’ in our response to the coronavirus pandemic,” Davis told us. “The governor has done his part to allow for such a response, but we are still seeing bureaucratic and institutional resistance to his orders.”
We support Davis in his efforts …
While there is a clear and compelling rationale for the health care industry to insist upon certain “scope of practice” limitations in the name of protecting patients, the current crisis necessitates adaptability, flexibility and – in some cases – the suspension of such limits.
In other words, “protecting patients” cannot become cover for denying emergency care in the name of “protecting profits.”
Hopefully, all of the interests associated with these negotiations will come to an agreement that puts the best interests of South Carolina first during this time of crisis.
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Banner: Columbia SC Photographer Travis Bell