Order expands capacity to combat COVID-19 in health care facilities
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday issued an executive order that expands the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The order gives the state the ability to increase the health care capacity in clinics, mobile health care units and adult day health care facilities. It also allows local governments more flexibility to utilize the skills of retired employees and reinforces the importance of the delivery of food, medicine and emergency supplies.
“The State of California is fighting hard to get the resources that Californians need to meet the COVID-19 surge. These emergency legal tools will increase California’s health care capacity and help facilities treat more patients,” said Newsom.
Among the various clauses in the order are the following –
“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1) In order to assist in the care or to protect the health of individuals not in a hospital or health facility, as defined in Health and Safety Code section 1250, and due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the director of the State Department of Public Health may, for the duration of the declared emergency, waive any of the licensing and staffing requirements of chapters 1, 3.3, 8.5, and 9 of division 2 of the Health and Safety Code and any accompanying regulations with respect to any clinic, adult day health care, hospice, or mobile health care unit. Any waiver shall include alternative measures that, under the circumstances, will allow the clinic, adult day health care, hospice, or mobile health care unit to assist in the care or protect the health of individuals while protecting public health and safety. Any waivers granted pursuant to this paragraph shall be posted on the Department’s website.
3) The suspension of statutes…shall also apply to local governments, as applicable, to ensure adequate staffing to appropriately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
4) Any local ordinance, including those relating to noise limitations, is suspended to the extent it restricts, delays, or otherwise inhibits the delivery of food products, pharmaceuticals, and other emergency necessities distributed through grocery stores and other retail or institutional channels, including, but not limited to, hospitals, jails, restaurants, and schools.
5) To ensure that patients with mental or behavioral health conditions continue to receive the services and support they need, notwithstanding disruptions caused by COVID-19; and to protect the health, safety and welfare of patients with mental or behavioral health conditions committed to the State Department of State Hospitals facilities, as defined by Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 4100 and 7200; the Director of the State Department of State Hospitals may issue directives waiving any provision or requirement of the Welfare and Institutions Code; any provision or requirement of the Penal Code that affects the execution of laws relating to care, custody, and treatment of persons with mental illness committed to or in the custody of the State Department State Hospitals; and the accompanying regulations of Title 9, Division 1 of the California Code of Regulations…Any waiver granted by a directive shall expire 30 days from the date of its issuance, except that the Director may grant one or more 30-day extensions if the waiver continues to be necessary to protect health or safety or to ensure delivery of services. The Director shall rescind a waiver once it is no longer necessary to protect public health or safety or ensure delivery of services. Any waivers and extensions granted pursuant to this paragraph shall be posted on the Department’s website.
6) As needed to safeguard health of persons already admitted, committed, or ordered to the facilities described in this paragraph and notwithstanding the Penal Code, the Welfare and Institutions Code, or any other statute or regulation, the Director of the Department of Developmental Disabilities is authorized to deny admission or delay discharge of all individuals judicially or otherwise admitted, committed or ordered to the Porterville Developmental Center; the Canyon Springs Community Facility; a Stabilization, Training Assistance, and Reintegration (STAR) home; or any other facility under the jurisdiction or control of the Department for 30 days after the issuance of this Order. The Director may grant one or more 30-day extensions if such action is necessary to protect the public health or safety (including, but not limited to, the health or safety of the individuals served at any Department-operated facility or the staff serving such individuals) from the threat of COVID-19. The Director of the Department shall describe the need justifying the closure of admissions to and delay in discharges from the Department-operated facility. The Director shall authorize admissions and discharges once the actions described in this paragraph are no longer necessary to protect the public health or safety (including, but not limited to, the health or safety of the individuals served at any Department-operated facility or the staff serving such individuals). The Director shall post the notice of closure of admissions and discharges and the extension of closure to the Department facility on the Department’s website.”
A copy of the Governor’s executive order can be found here.