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COVID-19: Governor Lamont's Executive Order 7V for Health Care Providers

April 9, 2020

On April 7, 2020, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7V, which expanded the protections from civil liability for health care providers from his Executive Order 7U, and waived certain licensure requirements for health care providers from physician assistants, nurses and respiratory care practitioners to physical therapists, social workers and professional counselors.

Protection from Civil Liability

As we previously discussed, Executive Order 7U granted health care providers and facilities in Connecticut immunity from civil liability, notwithstanding any provision of state law or regulation, for injury or death for acts or omissions undertaken that, due to lack of resources during the pandemic, prevented the health care provider from providing care at a level or manner that would have otherwise been required without the pandemic. The new Executive Order 7V supersedes and replaces that portion of Executive Order 7U, with one modification. The modification clarifies that the Governor is granting the immunity notwithstanding any state law or regulation, including the state common law. We are of the opinion that this expanded order will only be applicable to the extent a common law decision addresses the statutes or regulations the Governor is modifying. As before, the immunity does not extend to acts or omissions that constitute a crime, fraud, malice, gross negligence, willful misconduct, or would otherwise constitute a false claim, and the definitions of "health care professional" and "health care facility" are unchanged.

HCP’s Licensure Waivers and Modifications

In addition, Executive Order 7V modifies and waives certain licensure requirements for health care providers during the pandemic.

Specifically, for some professions that are typically permitted to practice under a temporary permit after graduating or while an application for licensure is pending, it removes the time limits placed on those temporary permits to practice and extends the duration to the duration of the public health emergency. These professions include nurse practitioners, registered nurses, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. For other health care providers for which an application fee is required to obtain a temporary permit (including physician assistants, athletic trainers, occupational therapists, respiratory care practitioners, and master social workers), Executive Order 7V waives the fee requirement to obtain a temporary permit and extends the duration of the permit to the duration of the public health emergency. In none of these cases, however, does Executive order 7V waive any requirement to obtain the temporary permit to practice, such as education or field experience.

Similarly, for licensed professional counselors (LPCs), Executive Order 7V permits individuals who have completed the requirements to practice as a professional counselor associate to do so without first obtaining a license to practice for the duration of the public health emergency. The requirements themselves, meaning either a graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling or graduate semester hours plus a practicum and internship and graduate degree in counseling or other related mental health field, are unchanged.

Last, and unlike the temporary permit modifications and licensure waivers above, Executive Order 7V extends the categories of people for which a license is not required to practice marital and family therapy and professional counseling by removing the requirements to complete practicums or internships or complete postgraduate experience in order to practice. Thus, graduates of degree programs specializing in marital and family therapy or a postgraduate clinical training programs may now practice as marital and family therapy associates without first obtaining a license, which would normally require a supervised practicum or internship and 12 months of relevant postgraduate experience.

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