The latest coronavirus-related Executive Order signed by Gov. Tim Walz will make it easier for out-of-state health workers to work in Minnesota healthcare facilities.
Currently, doctors and nurses moving to Minnesota would have to obtain a license from either the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice or the Minnesota Board of Nursing in order to provide emergency response and intensive care services in the state.
But amid concerns about staffing levels particularly in rural facilities as coronavirus cases increase, Gov. Walz's order temporarily suspended the licensing requirement.
In his decision, he cited the example of Nobles County, where there has been an outbreak of COVID-19 at the JBS USA pork processing plant and has seen the number of cases rise from 38 to 350 in the space of a week.
"I have determined that it is necessary to support the efforts of Minnesota’s healthcare professionals by allowing certain out-of-state healthcare professionals to provide staffing support and render aid in Minnesota during the pendency of the peacetime emergency," Walz said.
"Rapid increases of COVID-19 cases, such as the situation in the Nobles County, risk overwhelming local healthcare providers, particularly in rural areas. Long term care facilities, which are home to some of the most at-risk Minnesotans, are also experiencing shortages of qualified healthcare professionals."
The order means that hospitals, clinics and care facilities can hire medical professionals from outside of Minnesota without state licensing, providing they check that the individual in question has sufficient qualifications and licenses from other states.
There have been concerns over the level at staffing at Minnesota's long-term care facilities, where the majority of Minnesota's coronavirus fatalities have been reported.
Earlier this week, the Minnesota Statewide Emergency Operations Center issued an appeal for licensed and unlicensed workers to fill temporary shifts at long-term care/assisted living facilities across the state.
The SEOC says facilities are looking for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, EMS, and ancillary staff.
Those interested should email their name, address, phone number, type of licensed/unlicensed role they could fill, and any limitations on availability to firstname.lastname@example.org.