After Governor Tony Evers issued an executive order to cut red tape on medical licensing, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), the Badger Institute, The MacIver Institute, and Americans for Prosperity (AFP) urge Governor Tony Evers and the state legislature to continue to cut red tape to fight the coronavirus pandemic in Wisconsin.

Governor Tony Evers took meaningful steps on March 27 by issuing Executive Order #16 to ease critical licensing barriers for medical professionals. EO #16 includes the following measures:

  • Allows any health care provider with a valid and current license issued by another state to practice under that license and within the scope of that license in Wisconsin without first obtaining a temporary or permanent license. This, importantly, includes practicing via telemedicine.
  • Allows temporary licenses to remain valid for 30 days after the conclusion of the public health emergency.
  • Expands scope of practice for physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners.
  • Expedites license renewal for retired medical professionals and those with a recently expired license.
  • Ensures nurses that are close to graduation will be able to contribute.

These are positive steps, but Wisconsin can and should do more to assist in this current pandemic and prepare for future public health emergencies.

  • To address the current testing shortage, Wisconsin should use the FDA waiver to authorize state labs to develop and implement COVID-19 tests. Thus far, only five states have taken advantage of this flexibility.
  • The legislature should consider ensuring that when a public health emergency is declared, the licensing barriers relaxed under Executive Order #16 automatically go into place. This will ensure that future administrations do not have to spend critical time reviewing and issuing new orders.
  • Wisconsin has a moratorium on the number of hospital beds allowed in the state. While the number of beds may be more than sufficient during normal periods, this moratorium should be lifted, at minimum, during public health emergencies.
  • Allow pharmacists to extend prescription refills by 30 days during public health emergencies.

This coronavirus pandemic has been revealing in many ways. Notably, the rules and regulations meant to protect citizens have been proven, in many cases, to actually hinder the response to a public health crisis. We look forward to seeing Wisconsin continue to cut red tape to better address the crisis and keep its citizens safe.