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Whitmer order eases restrictions on health practitioners

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Paulette Parker
Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order that makes it easier for health care workers to handle more medical duties. It’s part of the state’s response to the growing shortage of health care workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order relaxes some rules to allow specialists, nurses, and physician assistants to take on more responsibilities to help address the growing shortage of health care workers.

Thad Gormus is with the Michigan Academy of Physicians Assistants. He says every sector of the health care system is strained.

“We need more PAs. We need more physicians. We need nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and all of them have really critically needed experience and education and training to treat this complex virus,” he said.

But Gormus says this will not fully address the overwhelming need for health care workers at every level of the system.

“Because, first of all, how many sick residents, how many patients are there going to be? We don’t know that yet," he said. "The second part is how many health care providers are going to become sick?”

The governor also signed budget bills with $80 million in line-item vetoes. The Legislature’s Republican leaders agreed with the vetoes to free up money to help fund the state’s coronavirus response.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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