Executive Order No. 68 Expands Scope of Practice in Limited Circumstances

Dec 9, 2020 | COVID-19 Legal Update

On December 4, 2020, Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order No. 68, entitled “An Order to Facilitate the Continued Response to COVID-19 By Increasing Health Care Resources and Capacity” (“Executive Order 68”).  A copy of the order may be found here   Among other things, Executive Order 68 allows professionals licensed under Title 63 (including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and registered nurses, among others) to perform tasks outside of their licensed scope of practice if: (1) such tasks are performed in a hospital and (2) performed pursuant to the hospital’s plan of delegation that has been approved by the Tennessee Commissioner of Health.  The plain language of Executive Order 68 clearly states that this specific expansion applies only to tasks performed in hospitals. It does not expand the scope of practice for office-based providers.    Additionally, registered nurses, whether licensed in Tennessee or working in Tennessee on a multi-state privilege to practice (either in a hospital or office setting), may delegate to certified medical assistants tasks that would normally be within the scope of nursing practice, including administration of COVID-19 vaccinations, under the supervision of the registered nurse.  Such delegated tasks must have been ordered and authorized by a Tennessee licensed provider with prescriptive authority.  “Certified” medical assistants must be certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants to meet the requirement of this part of the Executive Order.    Executive Order 68 went into effect retroactively at 12:01 a.m., December 1, 2020 and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. December 29, 2020.   The COVID-19 pandemic and response is an evolving situation. All levels of government are engaged in the process of preparing new legislation, regulations and orders both to stem the spread of the virus and to provide relief to employers and employees.   We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as applicable, especially as such updates affect healthcare providers and their practices.