Governor, DHS issue order to help address health care staffing needs in Wisconsin amid COVID-19 surge

MADISON, Wis. (WISC) — The surge in coronavirus cases in Wisconsin has prompted state officials to expand an emergency order to expand the health care workforce, according to a news release.

Gov. Tony Evers said he and Department of Health Service Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued Order No. 2 to provide for temporary interstate license reciprocity for healthcare providers to work in Wisconsin healthcare facilities, extend licenses that may expire during the federal emergency declaration for 30 days after its conclusion, and make it easier for healthcare providers with a recently lapsed license to apply for a reinstatement with the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

“We are seeing alarming trends here in Wisconsin, with today seeing our highest number of new cases in a single day, and yesterday seeing our highest death count,” Evers said. “Our hospitals are being stretched to the limit, and we need to take action to assist our frontline medical professionals with their life-saving work.”

Read the five-page order signed and effective Oct. 1, 2020

Out-of-state physicians can also practice telemedicine in Wisconsin with proper notification of DSPS.

The order is effective Thursday.

Palm said the state is in a new stage of the pandemic, and hospitals across the state are reporting staffing shortages. In addition to the order Thursday, she urged Wisconsinites to help protect healthcare workers by wearing a mask and staying home as much as possible to prevent spread of the virus.

The order will remain in effect for the duration of the declared federal public health emergency or until a superseding order is issued.

Dane County surpassed 10,000 cases as of Thursday, with about roughly 44% of the county’s total cases are from the last month alone.