The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners provided straightforward guidance about Board changes to parts or clauses of certain rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic and proclamations by the Governor of Louisiana. Their article, “Plain Language Guidance Regarding Board Changes During the COVID-19 Crisis,” is available by clicking here.
Of note, the article provides guidance on some key topics:
Continuing medical education (CME) – temporarily suspended for 2020
General CME requirements and audits are temporarily suspended for 2020. The Controlled Dangerous Substances three-hour CME is still required for first time license renewal of authorized prescribers.
Please note: LAMMICO policyholders may access and complete “Louisiana Act 76, Controlled Substances: Prescribing, Diversion Prevention and Addiction Treatment” free of charge by logging in as a Member at lammico.com. The course is approved by LSBME and satisfies the Board’s three-hour controlled substances education requirement for Louisiana prescribers.
Physician assistants (with and without prescriptive authority) working with a new supervising physician
For the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, to notify the Board of a new locum tenens or supervising physician (SP) and/or a new location, the new locum tenens or SP must send an email to the Board at Covid19firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, license number, new practice location, and the name and license number of the physician assistant (PA). The PA may work under the same practice guidelines as before the public health emergency or at the direction of the new locum tenens/SP.
Administrative proceedings and actions against licensees
All legal deadlines in Louisiana are currently suspended until April 13, 2020, pursuant to 27 JBE 2020. While it is likely the Governor will act again to further suspend these deadlines, the Board provides as follows, in order to facilitate the orderly administration and continuity of investigations and cases:
All preliminary review and formal investigation deadlines, and all deadlines pertaining to summary suspension hearings and administrative hearings, are extended until 90 days after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Administrative hearing dates currently set are postponed until 90 days after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, to be reset thereafter.
Enforcement standard during COVID-19 Emergency
To ensure Board licensees are not disciplined, troubled or rendered ineffective by their inability to comply with the letter of their practice act rules as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, in its discretion, the Board chooses not to enforce the violation provisions of each licensee’s practice act for healthcare services arising out of the COVID-19 public health emergency where:
(i) The Board’s licensee or permit holder acts in good faith and in accordance with patients’ immediate health needs;
(ii) his/her actions do not constitute gross negligence, willful or intentional misconduct; and
(iii) his/her actions are in response to, as a result of, or arise out of, the lack of personnel, equipment and/or resources arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dispensing of non-controlled medication
• The Board will not enforce requirements of dispensing rules, (Chapter 65), as they pertain to the dispensing of non-controlled medications during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
When dispensing non-controlled medications, the practitioner shall document the amount, dosage and instructions for any dispensed medication in the patient’s record.
This exception does not apply to controlled substances and expires upon termination of the COVID-19 public health emergency or as otherwise as determined by the Board.
All of these temporary changes in the Board’s enforcement practices are pursuant to Governor Proclamations, including but not limited to 25 JBE 2020, 27 JBE 2020, 29 JBE 2020, 30 JBE 2020, 32 JBE 2020, 33 JBE 2020, 37 JBE 2020 and 38 JBE 2020; and a result of the Governor’s Public Health Emergency Declaration under La. R.S. 29:760 et seq. In this entirely unique and unprecedented emergency situation, the Governor has instructed that “all departments, commissions, Boards, agencies and officers of the State, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate in actions the State may take in response to the effects of this event.” 25 JBE 2020 (Section 11).