KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed a bill that extends two executive orders Friday that are intended to help healthcare providers with staffing shortages that have arisen due to COVID-19, her office said.
"Even though most of our front-line healthcare workers have received their vaccines, many of them must quarantine with breakthrough cases," Kelly said during a press conference. "These quarantines created additional staffing shortages in hospitals and in nursing homes, many of which were already under-staffed and over-burdened."
She said the new bills will allow nurses and other healthcare workers to do things previously only doctors could to. It expands what healthcare students can do, as well as what workers outside the state can do in Kansas.
"This bill empowers physician assistants and advance practice nurses to order the collection of throat swabs for COVID-19, which relaxes the need for having a physician's order to do that testing, Kelly said. "It allows both students enrolled in programs to become healthcare professionals and emergency medical personnel serving in the military to volunteer in healthcare facilities and in nursing homes. It also allows healthcare professionals licensed in other jurisdictions to practice in Kansas."
Gov. Kelly also mentioned that the orders were fast tracked so they could be implemented before the disaster declaration expires Friday night.
"This bill is critical to our battle with COVID-19," Kelly said. "It will mitigate the shortage of healthcare providers while we deal with the omicron surge."
The orders are currently set to expire in January of 2023.
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