Healthcare Heroes! Free Training, Licensing, and Resources to Address the Challenges of COVID-19
During this challenging time for our healthcare heroes, organizations are offering free COVID training and the government is issuing blanket licensing waivers to address the need for increased personnel in Emergency Departments (EDs) and Intensive Care Units (ICUs). The purpose is to utilize nurses and providers who typically care for lower acuity patients in high acuity settings in need. We’ve compiled a list of resources to help you prepare for this inevitable surge in patients below.
And while we are so grateful for all that you do in healthcare, we also know that this is not easy. That’s why we’ve also compiled mental health resources to help get you through the tough days ahead.
Free Access to COVID-19 Critical Care Training
These online videos offer extensive training to help with COVID care in a variety of areas, including airway assessment and management, diagnosis and management of acute respiratory failure, mechanical ventilation, and disaster preparedness and response.
Free for all nurses, the content in this training is aimed at “real-world ICU scenarios.” COVID Training includes: managing oxygen delivery, caring for patients in respiratory failure and distress, care for the patient requiring endotracheal intubation or invasive mechanical ventilation, and more.
The free membership lasts 9 months and offers a review course and exam prep tests if you’re looking to freshen up your didactic learning!
Lastly, patients will have questions about COVID-19. Know the facts so that you can provide accurate and informative answers to their questions. Access and analyze trusted COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global data here.
Licensing Waivers for MDs, RNs, APRNs, and PAs to Address the Challenges During COVID-19
The COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Health Care Providers Fact Sheet includes all information on the blanket waivers currently in place. Highlights directly from the document include:
- Provider Locations: Temporarily waive requirements that out-of-state providers be licensed in the state where they are providing services when they are licensed in another state. This applies to Medicare and Medicaid.
- Provider Enrollment:
- Establish a toll-free hotline for non-certified Part B suppliers, physicians and non-physician practitioners to enroll and receive temporary Medicare billing privileges
- Waive the following screening requirements:
- Application Fee – 42 C.F.R 424.514
- Criminal background checks associated with FCBC – 42 C.F.R 424.518
- Site visits – 42 C.F.R 424.517
- Postpone all revalidation actions
- Allow licensed providers to render services outside of their state of enrollment
- Expedite any pending or new applications from providers.
Medicare is now seeking to expedite all pending or new applications so that providers awaiting credentialing can bill for service. This process, which typically takes anywhere from 90-120 days, is now being completed in 7-14 days. This document helps to answers common questions, such as:
- How is CMS using its authority under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act to offer flexibilities with Medicare provider enrollment to support the 2019-Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) national emergency?
- What are the COVID-19 Medicare Provider Enrollment Hotlines?
- How long will it take the MAC to approve a physician or non-physician practitioner’s temporary Medicare billing privileges?
- Will my temporary Medicare billing privileges as a physician or non-physician practitioner be deactivated once the national emergency is lifted?
The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is offering all hospitals and institutions free access to the Physician Data Center (PDC). Their purpose, as stated in the document linked above, is to “ensure the sharing of essential information that can be used to verify licenses and credentials for physicians and other health care professionals who are being mobilized to provide care to patients as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
The Physician Census is a compilation of all physician licenses in the state. The Interactive Map also breaks down the number of physicians in each state, serving as a visual reminder of how access to care varies by region and why some providers may need to be mobilized where help is needed during this crisis.
We’ve all seen it on the news: despite those >60 years old being at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19, doctors and nurses are selflessly coming out of retirement to volunteer on the frontlines. This document breaks down guidelines state by state for reactivating licensure.
This document outlines waivers by the state for issuing and/or renewing licenses. For example, the Board of Registration in Medicine is issuing Emergency Temporary Licenses in Massachusetts if the physician holds an unrestricted medical license in good standing in another state. The waivers seek to help hospitals meet increased demand. Many states are also granting extensions on upcoming license renewals so that physicians are only focused on the priority at hand: COVID-19.
The American Psychiatric Association has compiled guidance from the Department of Human Health and Services, the FDA, and each state so that psych providers can continue to provide quality care during the COVID-19 emergency. This comprehensive resource includes information on managing substance use disorders, inpatient psychiatric care, approval of telehealth services by commercial insurers, and state-by-state guidance.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) released this document outlining emergency licensing waivers and administrative provisions for nurses in each state. For example, California declared: “Any out-of-state personnel, including, but not limited to, medical personnel, entering California to assist in preparing for, responding to, mitigating the effects of, and recovering from COVID-19 shall be permitted to provide services in the same manner as prescribed in Government Code section 179.5, with respect to licensing and certification.”
Under the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), nurses can practice in other NLC states, without having to obtain additional licenses. This page indicates which states participate, which have a partial implementation, and where legislation is pending.
Hospitals can verify all nursing licenses with Nursys.
In response to the Covid-19 crisis, emergency orders to license “volunteer, retired, inactive or out-of-state professionals including nurse practitioners” are in place. Interested? This site by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) has categorized waivers by state and instructs nurses how to apply online.
Expanding the workforce to meet demand also includes expedited licenses and states reciprocities for Physician Assistants (PAs). The FSMB outlines the information here.
The American Academy of Physicians Assistants (AAPA) understands the crucial role PAs play in fighting the coronavirus. This page will be continually updated with resources and tools for PAs on how to care for patients, and themselves.
AAPA and state chapters are working together with legislatures and governors to waive the requirement for a supervising physician during the COVID-19 crisis. More information on efforts to remove barriers to freeing up providers for care can be found at the link above.
- COVID-19 Mental Health Resources to Address the Challenges for our Healthcare Heroes!
- Many insurance companies are now waiving the copay on mental health appointments in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
- Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is essential!
- Talking to trusted people is an important part of processing the current events and the tragedies faced on the frontlines.
- Acknowledging what you can and cannot control is a first step towards tackling anxiety.
Fatigue and burnout are real. Freeing yourselves of negative thoughts will allow you to sleep and recover before your next shift.
Healthcare Hero’s donations and funding:
Fuel discounts to first responders, doctors, nurses, and hospital workers. We are excited to announce that we’re extending this offer for a limited time.
Apps for Meditation and Wellbeing:
Headspace is a popular meditation app, including specific practices for everything from sleep to running. In response to COVID-19, healthcare workers get free access to Headspace Plus! “Just 10 days of mindspace can increase happiness by 16%.”
Insight Timer is an app to help with sleep, anxiety, and stress. In addition to meditations, the app features soothing music playlists and inspirational talks.
“Your emotional health assistant,” Youper, helps you to monitor your emotions and have quick conversations using psychological techniques via Artificial Intelligence. The app is unique in that it interacts with its users and aims to learn more about them to provide appropriate content. All information is private.
We at Melnic care about your wellness, too! Wellbeing is a featured topic in our blogs, including articles on work-life balance, communication, and leadership.
Online Therapists and Resources:
Click here for a list of the top online therapy services as of April 2020, including Better Help, Faithful Counseling, ReGain, Talk Space, and more!
Mental health providers may not be on the “front lines,” but they sure are just as needed during this crisis! The Indiana State Department of Health outlines “what to do now” for mental health providers.
The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) compiled a comprehensive list of resources and has a hotline open Monday-Friday. They provide resources to those struggling with anxiety due to quarantine, those unsure how to get care without health insurance, those requiring assistance due to a business suffering, those who lost a loved one from coronavirus, and more.
Healthcare Heroes, we always hold you in high esteem, but today, during this COVID-19 Epidemic, you have rallied, heard the call, and responded. The fact that you are doing all this while also managing the needs of your own families, economic concerns, and protecting your own safety, does not go unnoticed. You are, truly, superheroes!
- Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Health Care Providers Fact Sheet’
Jill Gilliland is President of Melnic an APRN and PA national recruiting company. Jill is a speaker and publicist on areas such as job strategies, branding and marketing, pediatric critical care needs, and additional topics relevant to pediatric nursing and the recruitment business. She has over 12 years of experience in the recruiting industry coupled with a strong sales, healthcare, and technology background. Jill holds a BS degree in Business from the University of Southern California and an MBA from The University of Virginia, Darden Business School. Connect with Jill Gilliland on LinkedIn.