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Governor Lee Issues *NEW* Executive Order to Combat COVID-19

Executive Order No. 15
March 19, 2020

Governor Bill Lee Issues Executive Order #15 in Response to COVID-19 and Repeals Executive Order #14

On March 19, 2020, Governor Bill Lee has issued Executive Order #15. Specific to pharmacy practice, the following actions have been taken to promote the health and well-being of Tennesseans during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Out-of-State Licensed Health Care Professionals – The relevant provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Titles 63 and 68, and related rules are hereby suspended to the extent necessary to give the Commissioner of Health the discretion to allow a health care professional who is licensed in another state, and who would otherwise be subject to licensing requirements under Title 63 or Title 68, to engage in the practice of such individual’s profession in Tennessee, if such individual is a health care professional who is assisting in the medical response to COVID-19.
  • Refills of Maintenance Medications up to 90 Days – The provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 63-10-207(a) and (c), are hereby suspended to allow a pharmacist to dispense up to a 90-day supply of maintenance prescriptions without proper authorization to persons as is necessary to respond to and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Tennessee, subject to all other provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Sections 63-10-207 and 63-1-164. (NO CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES)
  • Patients in Temporary Residences – The provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 68-11-201(20), are hereby suspended to the extent necessary to allow health care professionals who would otherwise be subject to licensing requirements to provide localized treatment of patients in temporary residences.
  • Expiration of Health Care Professionals and Facilities Licenses – The relevant provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Titles 63 and 68, and related rules are hereby suspended to the extent necessary to extend the current expiration dates for health care professionals and facilities to renew their license, certificate, or registration set to expire between March 12, 2020, and the date on which this order terminates for three (3) months, during which time the holder of each license, certification, or registration may continue to legally operate or practice their profession. No fines or penalties shall be assessed or collected if the holder of such license, certification, or registration practices or operates during this extended period. Any renewal application received by the Tennessee Department of Health within three (3) months of the expiration date of the license, certificate, or registration shall be accepted as timely. When each license, certificate, or registration is renewed, its new expiration date shall be twenty-four (24) months after the expiration date it had prior to this Order.
  • Remote Verification of Prescriptions – The relevant provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 63, Chapter 10, and Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1140-02-.01 through Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1140-02-.02 are hereby suspended to the extent necessary to allow pharmacy technicians and pharmacists to complete computer-based processing of prescriptions at alternative locations, including from the residence of the pharmacy technician or pharmacist. Such computer-based processing shall be conducted utilizing adequate security to ensure all aspects of the Health Insurance Privacy and Accountability Act of 1996 are followed. No laws pertaining to licensed pharmacy practice sites, the storage of drugs, record keeping, or dispensing processes are waived or limited by this Order.
  • Certificate of Need Requirements – The provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 68-11-1607, are hereby suspended to the extent necessary to allow hospitals that would otherwise be subject to certificate of need requirements to temporarily increase their number of licensed hospital beds at any location or temporarily establish hospital and diagnostic services at any location, if necessary for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, as well as to the extent necessary to facilitate activity authorized by the provisions of this Order and any subsequent order concerning COVID-19.
  • Alternate Testing Site Allowance – The provisions of Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-06-03-.16 are suspended to allow testing for COVID-19 at alternate testing sites without prior approval by the Medical Laboratory Board; provided, that laboratories shall notify the Medical Laboratory Board of any such alternate testing sites.
  • Setting Prices on Medical Supplies, Emergency Supplies, or Consumer Food Items – In accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 47-18-5103, it is hereby declared that in Tennessee an abnormal economic disruption exists, and therefore, persons are prohibited from charging any other person a price for medical supplies, emergency supplies, or consumer food items, as listed in Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 47-18- 5103(a)(l)(A), (C) and (D), that is grossly in excess of the price generally charged for the same or similar goods or services in the usual course of business. Paragraph 13 [this paragraph] of this Order shall remain in effect until 12:01 a.m., Central Daylight Time, on April 3, 2020.
  • TennCare Changes – The Division of TennCare is hereby authorized to create policies or modify existing policies as is necessary to ensure that members of the TennCare and CoverKids programs continue to receive medically necessary services without disruption during this state of emergency.
  • Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance – Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 58-2-107(e)(2), I hereby direct the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance to continue working with health insurance plans operating in the state to identify and remove any burdens to responding to COVID-19 and improve access to treatment options and medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19.
This Executive Order shall remain in effect until 12:01 a.m., Central Daylight Time, on May 18, 2020, at which time the suspension of any state laws and rules shall cease and be of no further force or effect.
TPA has created a Practice-Based Resource Page for pharmacists and pharmacy professionals which specifically focuses on COVID-19, including state and national resources, patient-specific handouts, and other important information. This is a very fluid situation, and TPA will continue to update the COVID-19 Practice-Based Resource Page with additional resources and information as it becomes available.
COVID-19 Practice-Based Resource Page