How Governor Directives Changed Health Workforce Flexibility in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Margaret Ziemann, MPH | Julia Strasser, DrPH, MPH | Maddie Krips, BA | Y. Tony Yang, ScD | Patricia Pittman, PhD

Topics: COVID-19, Scope of Practice (SOP)

Research Center: GW Health Workforce Research Center

July 26, 2023

In times of heightened population health needs, the health workforce must respond quickly and efficiently, especially at the state level. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the needs for greater flexibility in scope of practice and interstate mobility areas of health workforce regulation. The lack of a coordinated national response early in the pandemic left the onus on states—particularly on state governors—to determine how to deploy their health workforce to combat COVID-19.

This article examines state governors’ executive orders related to 2 key health workforce flexibility issues—scope of practice and licensing—in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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