Washington Governor Jay inslee

Washington Governor Jay inslee

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee announced July 29 that 12 COVID-19 emergency authority proclamations regarding the health care sector will be rescinded, as they are no longer necessary for pandemic response. The rescission will take effect October 27, 90 days after the announcement, in order to allow a smooth transition. 

The affected proclamations include Proclamation 20-52, 20-24, 20-32, 20-36, 20-59, 20-65, 20-66 and 20-74. Proclamation 20-52 also includes Proclamations 20-06, 20-10, 20-16, 20-17 and 20-18.

Proclamation 20-06 restricted visitor access to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 20-10 extended the restriction to adult family homes and addressed a shortage of long term care workers. All visitors were prohibited in 20-16, and more facilities were included in 20-17. 20-18 expanded Family Emergency Assistance Program eligibility and waived some provisions to address worker shortages. All of these proclamations were extended in 20-52. 

Proclamation 20-24 restricted the practice of non-urgent medical procedures, prioritizing only medically-necessary surgeries and services. If it could be delayed without harming the patient within the following three months, it was not to be done, with some exceptions. In the rescission, Inslee noted that National Guard and State Guard members serving in health care facilities are still active, which has alleviated some of the stress on the systems. 

In Proclamation 20-32, Inslee worked with the state Department of Health to temporarily waive some licensing requirements for health care workers, in order to increase staffing capacity. This was done because the number of licensed providers in the state was expected to be insufficient. In order to have enough health care providers through the pandemic, some barriers were removed, according to the proclamation. 

Similarly, Proclamation 20-59 temporarily waived some statues for Temporary Practice Permit issuance. This made it easier for recently-graduated health care workers in programs like dentistry, pharmacy and dental hygiene to obtain the permit and enter the workforce. Proclamation 20-65 considered the statutes required of staff at congregate living and care facilities, waiving some, and extending some other waivers. These were also due to expected staff inefficiency. 

In Proclamation 20-36, Inslee noted that Washington state was not expected to have enough hand sanitizer for health care workers during the pandemic. In response, the proclamation temporarily waived some statutes regarding hand sanitizer manufacturing and distribution. 

Proclamation 20-66 gave specific parameters for different kinds of care facilities regarding visitation policies throughout the pandemic. 20-74 had similar parameters but for the long term treatment of children. 

Following the official October 27 rescission, Inslee will have rescinded about 87% of all COVID emergency proclamations, according to the press release.