KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – An executive order signed Friday by Gov. Bill Lee expands medical assistance to a state in which hospitalizations for COVID-19 are reaching crisis level.
The order authorizes several changes, including expanding the number of healthcare workers licensed to administer vaccines, authorizes calling up members of the National Guard and State Guard, and allows them to work in public or private ambulance services. The order also increases the number of hospital beds available.
The guardsmen are on notice to “serve in certain health care and emergency services roles to reduce system capacity strain resulting from COVID-19.”
The order also provides regulators flexibility for those tasked with administering vaccines. Certified medical assistants are now legally allowed to assist when under the supervision of a registered nurse, “in order to relieve the capacity strain on vaccination.”
Guardsman are authorized by the order to
- Perform authorized diagnostic testing for COVID-19 in healthcare setting at hospitals, emergency departments and alternate care site
- perform authorized nursing or other functions
- operate public or privately owned, permitted ambulance service vehicles with a licensed service
The order also opens the door for Guard members to assist in transporting patients.
“In order to relieve the capacity strain on emergency medical services, temporary regulatory flexibility measures are necessary for nonemergency ambulance transport services,” the order states.
The order says Level 3 transports may be staffed with one AEMT, and and Level 4 transports may be staffed with one EMT, provided that there is an ambulance operator in addition to the AEMT or EMT who satisfies the ambulance driver requirements.
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