Northam eases licensing requirements, restrictions to help increase medical staff

Restrictions eased on out-of-state medical providers

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam responded to President Donald Trump’s phase approach to re-opening the country, saying infection numbers are still headed in the wrong direction, but the Commonwealth is in line with the President’s approach.

Northam also announced Friday an Executive Order to help to increase medical staff by easing licensing requirements and restrictions.

“This order will help expand our workforce so that more trained medical professionals can step up and step in to meet the need,” said Governor Ralph Northam.

The order allows out-of-state doctors to practice in Virginia, nurse practitioners with two or more years to work without an agreement with a physician and fourth-year medical students to jump into the field. It also expands the use of telehealth.

The governor also spent some time talking about expanding testing in long-term facilities.

“We are expanding our testing criteria to include people who are about to be admitted into congregate settings, like long-term care facilities, this is an important safety measure to help keep the virus from being brought into these facilities," said Northam.

The governor also saying long-term facilities experiencing an outbreak will be able to test every resident and staff member.

Another hot topic in the state is dealing with the virus in local and regional jails. Neighbors have been rallying outside the Richmond City Jail, demanding inmates be released, due to coronavirus concerns.

The governor commented Friday afternoon saying, “if someone has committed a misdemeanor, but isn’t considered a threat to public safety, it is better to use alternatives to jail, such as home electronic monitoring or issuing a summons.”

So far, the governor says there has been a 17% reduction in the local jail population and a 67% decrease in people entering facilities with misdemeanors.

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