COVID-19 Updates Related to NPs and Healthcare in Virginia
News about COVID-19 is changing rapidly with Gov. Northam providing daily updates. Below are the highlights of his briefings from the last few days as they relate to NPs and healthcare in Virginia. Please continue to check the CDC and Virginia Department of Health web sites for information.

NP licensing waivers
As part of Gov. Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency on March 12, some NP regulations have been waived through June 10, 2020. These waivers include:

Initial NP application (provisional license) – waive the 6-month time limit so applicants can practice on a provisional license until they are able to take the certification exam but no later than 90 days after the expiration of the Executive Order

Endorsement – waive the requirement for submission of evidence of certification and transcript and rely solely on verification of licensure in another U.S. jurisdiction

Renewal – waive automatic lapse requirements, which directs the board to impose disciplinary action if the licensee doesn’t renew the license by the expiration date.

These waivers are important because they allow NPs to increase access to patient care in Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information can be found on the Board of Nursing web site .

To increase access to care, the Department of Health Professions is making licensing a priority. While the department’s public reception area is closed for walk-in visits, licensure applications, renewals and address changes can be completed online . For assistance, please call 804-367-4444 or email [email protected] .

Although some requirements have been waived through June 10, other requirements including collaborative ratios have not. If you meet the requirements, this is a good time to apply for autonomous practice licensure .

COVID-19 Testing & PPE
The Governor announced changes to the testing criteria for COVID -19 with a primary focus on healthcare workers who have treated or had contact with individuals with the virus. 

Secretary of Health & Human Resources Dr. Daniel Carey said they are looking at all sources for PPE for first responders and healthcare workers. This includes the national stockpile, all current supply chains, following all leads they get from multiple sources, industrial suppliers and even considering adapting mining equipment to be used for healthcare, because they are similar. He also said this is a national problem that has to involve manufacturing as part of the solution. It may be through the War Powers Act or some other national method, but PPE supply is a crisis within the crisis.

Certificate of Public Need
Gov. Northam signed an executive order relaxing COPN requirements so hospitals can add beds to deal with the expected spike in individuals who will need care. 

Additional information
For APRNs, most of the barriers to practice are in the federal Code, which the Governor can not waive. AANP, ANA and other nursing organizations are pushing for the removal of state barriers at the federal level.

Please continue to check the Department of Health Professions web site for changes to previously scheduled meetings, certification exams and more. Get the latest COVID-19 information in Virginia here .

VCNP will continue to share information as it’s available.
Thank you for all you’re doing to care for the citizens of Virginia.