With just five days left before key COVID-19 related healthcare industry waivers expire, NJBIA and a host of healthcare associations are urging Gov. Phil Murphy and the Legislature to approve an extension so that providers can navigate a workforce crisis and a surging number of coronavirus cases.

There are 22 healthcare waivers in all that are scheduled to expire on Tuesday, Jan. 11.  Most of them were enacted in 2020 and address staffing concerns, expand telehealth and telemedicine access, and increase access to immunizations by allowing a wide range of healthcare practitioners to administer shots. Others allow for licensure reciprocity and waive certain staffing ratios in care settings.

“Waivers such as these have allowed healthcare providers to administer quality care for patients while eliminating inefficiencies and redundancies in their work. These waivers remain as important to the healthcare industry today as they were on the day of their enactment,” the group wrote in a recent letter to Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and the members of key legislative committees that deal with healthcare issues.

The letter was signed by NJBIA; the Garden State Pharmacy Owners; the New Jersey Hospital Association; the Healthcare Association of New Jersey; the Homecare & Hospice Association of New Jersey; LeadingAge New Jersey & Delaware; the New Jersey Dental Association; and the New Jersey Pharmacists Association. Go here to read the letter and view the specific waivers that set to expire.

Under P.L. 2021 c. 103, a concurrent resolution by the Legislature is needed for the governor to extend any administrative order, directive or waiver related to COVID-19 beyond the end of the current legislative session on Jan. 11.

On Monday, Murphy announced during his weekly coronavirus press briefing that he had formally notified legislative leadership that he wanted to extend for additional 90 days his administration’s emergency powers related to vaccine distribution and administration, testing and ensuring adherence to CDC guidance in masking and vulnerable settings. Murphy said he also requested a 90-day extension for “a number of administrative orders, directives and waivers that have been issued by the state’s departments and agencies in response to the pandemic,” but he did not elaborate which ones.